Gransnet forums


AIBU to do things my way?

(77 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?

Direne3 Thu 22-Nov-18 17:10:59


Leah50 Thu 22-Nov-18 17:29:48

If you're in UK on Christmas Eve, the lit-up International Space Station is passing overhead for 3 minutes just before 7.30pm. It's Santa's sleigh in the sky obviously...So hope there's no cloud...magical!

Jalima1108 Thu 22-Nov-18 17:42:47

Thanks for the time Leah - we have seen it him in previous years!

GabriellaG Thu 22-Nov-18 20:03:23

There must be quite a few a lot of athiests and non-practicing Christians on here because nowhere have I read that they intend on taking their GC (or go with their families) to church to see the crib and sing the carols. Nor is there mention of their AC doing so. shockconfused

Jalima1108 Thu 22-Nov-18 20:05:47

We will be.
And to a Christingle.
and carols around the tree

However, I am not a 'practising Christian' although they are.

GabriellaG Thu 22-Nov-18 20:14:10

...but there is quite a bit mentioned regarding the materialistic side.
Spirituality v materialism. I think the bias very much favours the latter, after all, adults almost always say 'It's for the children', as if they were consulted. hmm

annehinckley Thu 22-Nov-18 20:26:05

I agree about beginning your own traditions. Baking seems a good place to start. Last year, for the first time, I made gingerbread decorations for the tree. Yesterday my 3 yr old GS asked "When are we going to make cookies for Christmas?"
Another idea might be a Christmas Eve box or bag, with a story, a DVD (Wallace & Grommit appeal to a wide age-range) & some not-too-messy craft activities. Stickers are good! Or puzzle books or jigsaws. Something to entertain them but keep them fairly calm. I would avoid board games as they so often lead to tears or tantrums. I write this with feeling as I remember clearly being in trouble on Christmas Eves as a child, when I was really excited & my parents were (as I now realise) frazzled & stressed out. Then if they come to you for another Christmas you can update the box/bag to suit their ages.

Mapleleaf Thu 22-Nov-18 23:12:35

Some good ideas mentioned here already, but also:-
The Snowman dvd is always lovely to watch.
Most churches hold an afternoon nativity in which the children are often invited to participate in if they want to. It only lasts about half an hour, and there are lovely carols to join in with as well.
Maybe make some simple decorations either for the tree or the table - children love a bit of glitter and glue!
I think the idea of a spot of simple baking is nice, too, as already suggested, along with the reindeer food to sprinkle outside just before bedtime on Christmas Eve - perhaps followed by a Christmas bedtime story to help settle them down.
Good luck, but remember, be yourself rather than try to be the same as the other GP’s.

Mapleleaf Thu 22-Nov-18 23:18:26

I think you might be pleasantly surprised, Gabriella and discover that quite a lot of us do take the Spiritual side of Christmas seriously and go to church regularly and participate in all the services running up to Christmas Day itself, but I think the OP wanted a variety of suggestions, which I think she has been given.

annep Thu 22-Nov-18 23:33:52

Christmas isn't Christmas without Carols.goes without saying. but I think the op wanted different ideas. Oh I feel very Christmasy reading all these great suggestions!

annep Thu 22-Nov-18 23:34:29


Jalima1108 Thu 22-Nov-18 23:35:48

I think, for children, the nativity plays, the Christingle services and carols round the tree tend to come just before Christmas and Christmas Eve for little ones is the excitement of Father Christmas coming.

scarfgran's family may not arrive until about Christmas Eve.
Midnight Mass and/or Christmas Day morning service are quite long for very young children.

Jaxie Mon 26-Nov-18 06:55:35

That comment "... it isn't a competition but you seem to want to make it one." is rather mean. Scarfgran only wants her grandchildren to have a nice time and remember her as a fun grandma. I customise a Christmas decoration for the tree: we have a skiing Santa that this year will be Donald Trump, or maybe the new female Dr Who.

MawBroon Mon 26-Nov-18 07:38:26

Are you American GabriellsG? ( practicing )

labazs1964 Mon 26-Nov-18 07:41:58

why not ask the parents if there are any traditions they wish to keep ie the pjs and story book get them to explain what to do with the chosen tradition then do some of your own. the night before christmas is a lovely story sit them down with you before bedtime pjs new ones and mugs of cocoa to read it to them. i love the idea of baking they will be very proud to tell everyone what they have made! most of all relax and enjoy the visit

Newmom101 Mon 26-Nov-18 09:19:02

If the book is the night before Christmas I would keep it. It's likely a tradition from their mom, rather than GPs. I bought DD a personalised copy for her first Xmas and would want to read that with her regardless of where we do Xmas. Obviously you could add in more books as well.

The same for the pyjamas. I'm guessing it's new pyjamas, rather than the same ones. Most likely so they look nice and clean in any photos or videos taken Christmas Day! I'm guessing their parents will bring those though.

Apart from keeping those I'd say do your own thing, how about going to the cinema? Keeps little kids occupied for a good few hours on Xmas eve when they can be so unsettled. There's the new grinch film out if they haven't yet seen it. And the new Mary poppins will be out the week before.

Baking a good idea but also choosing or making a special Christmas Eve meal that they can have every time they have Christmas at yours (be prepared to eat whatever they choose, maybe give options). We have a particular takeaway every Christmas Eve.

Tracking santa is brilliant, and I love the idea of learning how to say merry Christmas in the language of the different countries, I may steal that for future christmases with DD. With older kids you could learn about Christmas traditions in those countries as well.

But to be honest, nothing beats a movie in Christmas pyjamas, nice food and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve!

knickas63 Mon 03-Dec-18 16:52:12

I agree that you should keep the book and the Pyjamas - the rest is for you do for yourself - your own traditions! If Their parents feel that they may feel really strongly about something , then by all means consider it. But your house, your traditions!

Luckygirl Mon 03-Dec-18 18:48:01

My DGC just love making Christmas badges at Grandma's. You can buy basic glittery silver and gold stick-on stars, and other little decorations, including some beautiful tiny wooden cut-outs, and little snowflakes. Pot of glue and away they go! Then they can stick the badges on their chest - or give them away to friends. They love them - and I am willing to bet this will be a novel idea for them.

Luckygirl Mon 03-Dec-18 18:57:35

By the way the craft items are from Baker Ross - forgot to say.

DillytheGardener Mon 03-Dec-18 20:01:42

Start new ones! I can't wait for grandkids to do all the Christmas stuff. But my sister in law and I do a joint Christmas so I get to join in on the celebrations with my grandnieces and nephews.

Some ideas below;

Ginger bread houses, You can buy ones where you just assemble and stick on the candies or you could make from scratch.

Simple crafts; all you need is some cardboard & pegs (Link below)

Make a fort with them and watch films

Buy some dispable cameras and let them document Christmas and you can post them the photos to them afterwards (Kids love getting post and reminds them of the fun time they had)

Laugh, be silly and don't put pressure on yourself.

DillytheGardener Mon 03-Dec-18 20:24:08

(Also plenty of prosecco for the ladies and beer and whisky for the boys, then all of the grownups will be doing karaoke)

The game 'Mouth Out' might be fun after the kids have gone to bed, very silly and will have all the mums and dads in stitches. Christmas is stressful for parents, I always used to have the the couple who lived next door over when my kids were young, to have a bit of fun Christmas event once our two were in bed. I'm sure you're going to be a hit this year with grandies and Son and Dil!!!$ja=tsid:59156|acid:444-797-0832|cid:189934165|agid:18091993045|tid:pla-267435859575|crid:77627768125|nw:g|rnd:3599601361067081479|dvc:c|adp:1o2|mt:|loc:9072504&gclid=Cj0KCQiAxZPgBRCmARIsAOrTHSbwoQnVk95i_AUQ6azbOcwq3ijzmU3HCoEqRiY_x9Uc7Qdina4gebMaAik2EALw_wcB

Devorgilla Mon 03-Dec-18 22:13:11

I can't see why you can't incorporate their traditions into your Christmas, although I personally would draw the line at karaoke. Not my thing. Just introduce one or two of your own. The baking thing is a great idea. We have a rather ancient snowman figure which my mother gave the kids in the 1970s. It has to have pride of place on the table and is filled with silly presents - scratch cards for the adults, small gifts for the children. Always the last thing opened after Xmas dinner etc. It's falling apart but my daughters still argue over who gets it when we die, so much a part of our tradition it is. Your grandkids will take your traditions with them to their other grandparents and insist they are followed. Christmas is about a pattern to our lives and familiar and much loved traditions are part of that. Chill and enjoy.

nearlyagran Sun 09-Dec-18 10:13:52

I used to bake loads of fairy cakes and ice the tops in plain white icing on Christmas Eve. In the late afternoon we would set out lots of decorating bits (toppings, edible glitter, icing pens etc) and we would all sit around the table and decorate the cakes- Christmassy theme. As the years have gone on the toppings have become more and more exciting. It is easy to buy popping candy, tiny holly leaves etc now. The kids would all choose their best attempt to leave out for Father Christmas.
You can also buy un-iced fairy cakes pretty easily too - if you aren't a baker. My kids (now 27, 25, 21 and 16) plus partners and friends still like to do this even now if they are here on Christmas do I and my husband. It has become quite competitive these days.
The pjs and story is easily done if it is important for the gcs and you can add some traditions for them too. To be honest, there are very few unique traditions (lots of families have very similar ones) so keep it light and fun and just mix and match. As the gcs get older they will then have a flavour of all possibilities and can decide which they want to carry forward. Some things stick and some don't. If the cake icing which our family sees as huge tradition had been a disaster the first time we tried it - it would have been ditched. It is all down to trial/error and luck.

Madgran77 Sun 09-Dec-18 17:01:15

Another idea that my GC do for various special occasions, including Christmas, is make name cards for the table, writing names and decorating them, then setting the table with them! Keeps them going for ages and thry are 6 and 5!

Flaxseed Sun 09-Dec-18 21:12:15

I love some of the ideas on here! tchsmile