I discovered that Santa wasn’t real when I saw my father tip-toeing around mine and my little sister’s bedroom, one Christmas Eve when I was 11. Maybe I had my suspicions as to the existence of this jolly fictional character before that time, but that night confirmed what I had been thinking. I felt a strange sense of guilt that I now knew the truth, and kept this to myself. This was not only for my sister’s sake, but also my mother’s. Being from a large Irish Catholic family, Christmas was important to her and she saw it as a time for family and celebration. She also liked planning Christmas parties for me and my sister and I didn’t want her to be disappointed that I knew the truth about Father Christmas.
Every year in the run up to the festive season, the warm memories of those parties are rekindled. This Christmas, I will be organising a party for my five year old son, Jake. I am beginning to understand the joys my mother experienced all those years ago although I feel slightly perturbed at the thought of allowing 15 children to invade our home for a few hours! Here are some ways I think will alleviate my anxieties.
Involve your children
A great way to help yourself and get your kids involved, is to get them to design and create the party invitations. Cheaper and more fun than buying invitation cards, buy some card, glitter and felt tips from your local arts and craft store. Kids always love to be involved and making up the invitations with them, will ensure they enjoy the party even more.
Organise the games
The most fond memories I have of my mother’s parties, are the games she organised. My favourite was her Festive Treasure Hunt, as all the kids invited were guaranteed to get a present. She would dress up as Long John Silver and regale us with colourful tales of sea adventures, before handing out treasure maps (which my sister and I had drawn) of our house and garden. We would then go hunting for the treasure and the house would erupt in a festival of joy and laughter.
For Jake’s party I have a number of games organised which will include:
- Hide the Bauble
The child who finds the bauble wins a prize.
- Snowman Freeze
Children dance to music until it stops when they must remain as still as possible. First one to move is out and this is repeated until there’s a winner.
- Santa Says
A festive variation of the popular Simon Says game.
- Pin the Nose on Frosty
Like ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, but give each child a carrot, blindfold them and get them to stick it on Frosty’s face.
- Pass the Pressie
An adaption of Pass the Parcel for the Christmas season.
Get other mothers to help
Organising a Christmas party for your children can seem like a daunting task, but enlisting the help of some of the other mothers can make things a little easier for you on the day. I remember my mother having a natural way with children and she seemed to be at her best when entertaining them. Maybe this comes with experience, but I know that for now, I’m definitely going to need some assistance. Contributing food and drink for example, will lighten the load making things a little more manageable on the day. Which conveniently brings me onto…
Food glorious food
It is important to ask the other parents if their child has any allergies you need to be aware of. Nut allergies are more prevalent these days and children can choke on nuts, so maybe these are best avoided. Make sure you supply some crudites (French appetizer of raw vegetables) to appease those parents who don’t like their children eating the usual party fodder of crisps, jelly, cake and ice cream.
My mother would often spend the day prior to the party making cakes, and our home would be filled with the aroma of fresh baking and cinnamon. This added to the atmosphere when it came to the day of the party. If Jake’s christmas party is half as good as the ones my mother used to organise, I will be very happy.
Clare is a freelance writer and has supplied this article for Bundles of Joy,who supply personalised Christmas baubles, quality gifts for babies and a selection of gifts for special occasions.