We all love the magic of Christmas when your kids come bounding in like wide eyed bunnies ripping apart boxes and jamming batteries into all manner of toy orifices. However, we will be sending them a memo to say the Christmas magic shop is not open until 7am on the 25th this year!

Are you one of those people who painstakingly plan Christmas from October, get caught in an endless stream of buying kids gifts, cooking, cleaning and tending to everyone but yourself?  Then listen up! This year it’s about stopping to smell the snowflakes, with your children – as they are falling.

5 Ways to keep the magic of Christmas alive

To believe or not to believe

First off we all need to believe. The magic of believing in Christmas is such a short window that we should savour it. We need a crackdown on those snotty nosed know-it-all kids who burst your kids bubble in the playground.  Some children find out from older siblings or parents who come clean because they don’t want to lie to their kids. They believe knowing the truth shouldn’t take away from the enjoyment of Christmas. Tch! We’re firmly not in that camp but we respect their decision so long as their kids don’t mess with ours! Ok so now that have established that we all believe in the North Pole and that Rudolph poops chocolate raisins we can move on.

Forget the naughty or nice list – what about the chore list!

Look, let’s not beat around the bush here. We parents go to a heck of a lot of trouble maintaining the magic of Christmas (and we love doing it) but it’s not unreasonable to get a bit of payback before the big FC comes down the chimney. Whether it’s to clean their room, write a Christmas card to grandparents or help younger siblings. Whatever you need doing, just dangle that sparkling new Xbox or gleaming bike like a carrot. I mean Father Christmas has little helpers so why shouldn’t we?

If you need instant improved ‘Good list’ behaviour you can create a personalised video from Santas PNP that can tell your child they are now on the ‘naughty list’ and need to pull up their elf socks up. We don’t deny it’s pretty darn mean but (ahem) one of us has done this to our kids and we are happy to confirm that it did not leave any emotional scars but did radically improve naughty behaviour.

Don’t get busted

By the start of December you may well be on first name basis with Edouardo, your Amazon delivery driver, but make sure you don’t leave an evidence trail. Smart kids on the verge of ‘knowing’ will be watching packages arrive with a healthy dose of cynicism. Clear your browser history, close down windows on your phone and hide receipts well away from curious eyes. Get rid of all big gifts to the loft or better still at someone else’s house. Whatever you do, don’t let them bust you.

Santa, can you hear me?

If you struggle to get your child writing at the best of times then Christmas is a great excuse to get those skills sharpened up. From writing their wish list to Santa, cards to their teachers, name settings for the table and gift tags it’s the perfect excuse to get their pencils out.

Get involved!

Christmas is a No Grumpy Pants zone. When else can you bring out your inner kid but at Christmas? So don’t get too hung up on the details because only you will notice if the sprouts are overdone. Instead have a glass of Champagne and just get involved.  Don your kitch reindeer sweater, dance around the kitchen to ‘Santa Baby’ and spend more time goofing around with your kids than at the stove.

You might wonder what Miss Manners’ top tip to belly aching laughing is on Christmas Day? Well – an indoor snowball fight! On the QT, get yourself a big bag of soft fake snowballs and after Christmas lunch just ambush your family until you have a full blown indoor snowball fight going on. Honestly, you will all be doubled over laughing. Just don’t knock Granny’s teeth out!