Gransnet forums


AIBU to do things my way?

(76 Posts)
scarfgran Wed 21-Nov-18 22:20:09

My grandsons (4 and 8) are going to be spending Christmas with us for the first time. Up till now for various reasons - distance, illness, house moves, they've spent it with my DIL's parents. They seem to have so many traditions built up with them - Christmas Eve pyjamas, the same Christmas book, a karaoke singalong, a treasure hunt etc. We tend to do things quite simply in our house and I'm worried how I can live up to the Christmasses they've had at the other grandma's? Should I just try and do the same things to keep them happy? Or will that just make it more noticeable that it's different - and probably not better sad I desperately want them to have an amazing time so that they'll want to come again. As it is we don't see them nearly as often as the other grandparents who are more local. My husband says I'm worrying unnecessarily. Am I? What kind of things would you suggest we do that would make their visit our own kind of special and give them memories?

Auntieflo Wed 21-Nov-18 22:25:15

I suggest that you do things your way. If you try and compete with the other GP’s you may very well get stressed, and then you won’t enjoy your family as you should. If you are as relaxed as you can be at this time of year, you will have the time to give them.

mcem Wed 21-Nov-18 22:33:21

Something quite different!
When my girls were little we visited the local panto on Christmas Eve then dashed home and jumped into bed!

Bridgeit Wed 21-Nov-18 22:36:02

Umm , where to start,firstly please don’t try to live up to anyone else & how they do things. be your normal natural self whilst including them in the planning, asking what they like the most etc, Think of one or two family traditions that you use to do with your own children, telling them that is what you did when their (Mum, or Dad ) we’re young. You were a parent before,what did your own children like? Get them baking /making special Christmas treats with you, they will feel so proud to make a special contribution , best wishes ,

Buffybee Wed 21-Nov-18 22:43:46

You could start a Christmas Eve tradition of your own.
At 4 & 8 my Dgc loved baking.
So how about making mince pies and some jam tarts if they don't like mincemeat.
There's nothing they like better than cutting the shapes in pastry.
You could get a new game and open it and play it Christmas Eve.
Hide little cheap toys or sweets around the house and have a toy hunt!
You could still buy them Christmas PJ's as that's pretty general now.
Make your own traditions up for them!

Buffybee Wed 21-Nov-18 22:45:31

Snap! With the baking Bridgeit ?

Jalima1108 Wed 21-Nov-18 22:47:42

If they like the same book and the same pyjamas on Christmas Eve, then their parents will make sure of that.
Otherwise, think of some things they can do at your house that will be special to you all.
Can they help finish decorating the tree? Baking biscuits to hang on the tree perhaps?
If there is a local panto that could be good, sometimes even better than the ones at the large theatres.

BlueBelle Wed 21-Nov-18 22:57:35

Definitely start your own traditions simpler the better
A special bauble each to add to the tree with a little game around it maybe hide them with some clues
Do the mince pie and milk for Santa and carrot for rudolf thing I used to put a couple of icing sugar footprints and leave some crumbs and a few messy bits of carrot
If you’re computer literate there s a website that follows Santa around the world my grandkids used to love that, seeing him get nearer by the hour
I m think your husband is right stop worrying and enjoy their comp,any

Oakleaf Wed 21-Nov-18 23:07:31

Years ago, when we would spend Christmas Eve with friends, their sons (my Godsons and about the same age as your GC) asked how Father Christmas managed to get to all the children in the world. I made it into a game/ learning experience about time zones, other countries and cultures. I put a big map of the world on a cork board and we plotted his journey using coloured pins and string, learned the words for Happy Christmas in different languages, drew pictures of how Christmas is celebrated in other countries etc etc. The youngest came up to me every now and again and ask quietly, “Where is Father Christmas now?” It kept them occupied all evening but quietly without getting overexcited. They are in their 30s now with their own children and have carried on the tradition so it clearly made an impression.

Oakleaf Wed 21-Nov-18 23:08:39

BlueBelle Saw your post after I'd written mine. Good to see the internet now offers the same thing.

Nanabilly Wed 21-Nov-18 23:09:53

How about putting the chocolates on the tree.
Cinema night with a Christmas film popcorn and alcohol free cocktail in posh glasses. My 6 year old gs loves a cocktail when we have a drink. His is squash and lemonade with crushed ice.
Christmas day breakfast was always toaster crumpets and fresh orange juice and I found out only yesterday that our 40 year old son has requested that this year from his gf. He said it will make him feel he's home.
No matter what you do your gc will love it as long as it's all calm and full of love and laughter not stressing about it it's as good as someone else's Christmas.

MiniMoon Wed 21-Nov-18 23:11:00

Reindeer food, to sprinkle in the garden. All you need is a bag with some oats and edible glitter. My DGC love doing this just before bedtime. The then go happily to bed listening out for sleigh bells.

seasider Thu 22-Nov-18 00:32:21

We make "reindeer food" but please make sure it's biodegradable glitter. We track Father Christmas on the Norad website. How about watching a Christmas film together with some little treats. Don't try to compete just be yourself .

cornergran Thu 22-Nov-18 02:48:51

Nothing new to add, just wanted to join the encouragement to you to be yourself. You won’t be at ease and relaxed trying to be someone you aren’t. Christmas magic comes in all shapes and sizes, this year the magic will be different, but it will still be magic. So focus on something you are comfortable with, tell the children - and their parents - your plan, relax and enjoy. Have a wonderful Christmas, your way.

Kim19 Thu 22-Nov-18 10:28:13

I would certainly do things my way but I would run my plans past my S & DiL to get their feedback and hopefully compromise accordingly if necessary.

Hm999 Thu 22-Nov-18 10:28:21

What a lovely idea to invent new traditions. What sort if things do the boys like doing? What sort of things do they never get a chance to do?

Molli Thu 22-Nov-18 10:34:17

We never expect to see our children and grand children (5 and 3 months) on Christmas Day itself just some time over the holiday period. They are their own family and may want to do things differently. However We have inadvertently created a Christmas tradition and it doesn’t matter what day it happens on. It’s simple and inexpensive but everyone gets involved. It’s a Christmas lucky dip. It started as a game for our grandson at one as he could recognise and sign colours. Every adult had a coloured badge and in the lucky dip were little presents for each person. Our grandson got to hunt for the presents and deliver them. The next year we did the same but with letters eg. N for Nanny, M for mummy, next year he had to read the word. Last year we had simple clues to solve. I still haven’t worked out what to do but he’s into spy’s at the moment so I might do a solve the code. It helped him be involved, he enjoyed seeing people open the presents, sometimes it was for him- added bonus! One year everyone got socks but I wrapped each sock individually. He thought it was hysterical as we always tried to guess what it might be before it was opened. The message really is the simplest of things are the best. The children will love anything that you do TOGETHER be it baking, decorating the last few bits on the tree or a game. Don’t try to compete with the other grandparents just do it your way and involve them. You never know you might start your own tradition! Also if they haven’t spent Christmas with you before they might be feeling a bit nervous too ?.

scarfgran Thu 22-Nov-18 10:37:22

Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions! I will have a think about any new traditions. I do like baking but I'm not sure they've ever done any so maybe that's worth a go and will be a different experience for them. Could do simple biscuits and they could do the decorating. And I absolutely love your idea Oakleaf, especially that of learning how to say Merry Christmas in a different language. I wonder if my husband might be tempted to get all that together. He loves a good map and a project. Thank you all - I feel better already. My relationship with my DIL also goes in ups and downs so I'll be careful to make sure she has a good time too even if it's not at her own parents this year. Please do keep the traditions coming though - it's so lovely to hear what other families do.

Feelingmyage55 Thu 22-Nov-18 10:46:35

Play “hot” and “cold” for the new PJs. Baking - maybe have some tree shaped biscuits ready and those packets of tubes of coloured icing, and have the ingredients for simple biscuit baking or chocolate crispies with festive paper cases. How about a ludo competition, or snakes and ladders. Everyone must join in. Could they set the table? Maybe do home made crackers with recycled cereal boxes and sweets inside. Make and decorate place cards. Could you have the tree up but undecorated for everyone to do together. Maybe have the lights on the tree already? So that it looks welcoming. Go for a walk under the stars and deliver the Christmas cards to the neighbours. Feed the ducks on Boxing Day and take a flask of hot chocolate. I could go on and on. The main thing is a happy atmosphere, laughs and cuddles. Not too many (none) rules. Enjoy. Take lots of photos and make sure YOU are in them too.

Nonnie Thu 22-Nov-18 10:49:10

I agree with Kim19. Have fun thinking of what you would like to do then discuss with their parents. Just make it totally child focused and have a lot of fun.

We have our family traditions but this year DiL has suggested the GS open their presents before the rest of us so they can play with them while we open ours. I have suggested that the 4 year old might wonder why we still have presents when he doesn't. No decision yet but the right thing will happen because we talk about it.

GabriellaG Thu 22-Nov-18 10:59:38

It isn't a competition, although you seem to want to make it into one.
Why do you want to be the same as the other GPs? Do you decorate your home in the same way, cook the same food the same way?
Well then, why not make your Christmas with them different, your way, not an imitation of the other GP's routine?
Someone else has mentioned baking Christmassy biscuits which you can hang on your tree, an excellent idea for anyone of any age. A local carefully chosen pantomime (might be costly and some are a bit rude) is one idea or they might enjoy singing carols at your local church on Christmas Eve. Depending on which day they arrive, you might take them to the shops to see the displays and a nice tea afterwards.
Making coloured paper chains is cheap and fun and they can decide where to put them.
I'm sure there are 101 other good ideas on here but you've had children yourself, just use your ingenuity.
Have a great time. smile

Coconut Thu 22-Nov-18 11:02:19

You could chat to the parents beforehand ? but I’d be inclined to want to do things differently for them.

Crazygran Thu 22-Nov-18 11:04:56

My Grand daughters go on a Santa hunt on Christmas Eve, Dad drives around the street,girls and Mum look at sky with torches.They usually see him in the sky ?
If they do Elf on the shelf, he will come anyway won’t he?

Tinker18 Thu 22-Nov-18 11:06:53

I live near to my 2 GC aged 7 and 2 and look after them 3 days a week. I happily look after the younger one so that my DD and SIL can enjoy seeing the older one in school plays etc. Sometimes I go if there is an extra ticket but even then have on times wheeled the younger one around the playground if she won't keep quiet! I see my role as to support this little family; there is enough pressure on them these days. When it comes to birthday parties I do the same, with relief!

sarahellenwhitney Thu 22-Nov-18 11:10:43

Why not let them chose but be prepared should they wish to do as they had done on previous Xmas's.