Thanks to Covid and lockdown, Christmas 2020 will inevitably look different than usual. Although we’ll still be able to indulge in some of our regular festive favourites (Bublé and baubles – a winning combination), there are also a lot of activities which we’ll have to pass up on this year.

Whilst many of us are just excited to have some time off after what feels like a never-ending year, as parents we’re also worried about how we can still make this Christmas feel special for our little ones. We want to give them the festive magic and excitement that this time of year usually brings, but with Christmas Markets and Santa’s Grottos closed it can feel like an impossible task.

That’s why we’ve created this list of activities and ideas, to help get your children in the festive spirit while we’re still in lockdown. Although some ideas may require a bit of prep, we’ve tried to make the list as budget-friendly as possible so that every parent will be able to find at least one or two ideas that they can use with their kids. 

Here are some of our top tips for the lead up to Christmas 2020:

Deck the Halls

As we’re all inevitably spending more time at home than we’d like, one of the most effective ways to get your children into the Christmas spirit is to transform the house into a Winter Wonderland. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on decorations – in fact, keeping things more homemade can often be more fun, as the kids can get involved in some DIY crafts. 

Some of our favourites include homemade wreaths (you can use tissue paper or even coffee filter papers), Santa’s snowy footprints and personalised ornaments – which also make great memories for Christmases to come. 

Not the crafty type? That’s okay – you can still get your kids excited for the big day by creating a living room Countdown to Christmas, using a light-up message board (or even a good old-fashioned blackboard or whiteboard!). These work especially well alongside their usual advent calendars – and are more customisable so you can get creative with your festive messages!

Bake up a (snow)storm

This is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit with our kids – they get to have fun, make a mess and enjoy some sweet treats at the end of it! You can go as fancy or as simple as you’d like – mince pies, gingerbread men or just some good old fashioned cupcakes. Luckily the shops don’t seem to be quite as devoid of baking ingredients as they were in lockdown one, so getting your hands on some flour and vanilla shouldn’t be too much of a struggle (fingers crossed!).

Alternatively, you could get the kids in the festive spirit by recreating some of the treats you’d normally get from a Christmas market. Hot dogs, hot chocolate or even s’mores are all perfect for this – and as a bonus, you won’t have to queue for 20 minutes to get them.

Keep up the festive traditions

Each family has their own little traditions, and now more than ever it’s important to get the kids involved in them. Some of our regular events may need to be readjusted to lockdown life, but getting the kids to create their own Christmas panto or recreate the nativity scene with their toys could well become great new festive traditions for years to come.

There are also the classics, of course: decorating the Christmas tree, listening to Wham!, watching Elf. Keeping these little traditions in place can have a huge impact, especially at a time when so many other parts of Christmas may be different than usual. 

Get an Elf on the Shelf (or equivalent)

This is a huge hit for a reason, and has become even more popular in recent years. All you need to do is ‘adopt an Elf’ (you can either get the official toy or a cheaper alternative if you’re on a budget), and get ready for some festive fun! 

The basic idea is that the kids have a special Scout Elf, who has been sent by Santa to help him with his naughty and nice list. Every night he reports back to Santa to let him know whether your children are being nice (or naughty!), and each morning he reappears in a completely different part of the house, doing a new activity. Some popular ones include:

  • Climbing on the tree
  • Tracking snow/flour into the house
  • Eating a sweet treat (i.e. the remnants of your midnight mince pie)
  • Having a bath in the sink
  • Sledding down the banister 


Although this gives us one more thing to do every night, getting to see our kids’ excitement each morning when they find out what their Elf has been up to makes the extra 5 mins before bed worth it.

Spread Christmas Cheer

Given that many of us are unsure whether we’ll be able to go ahead with our regular Christmas gatherings, encouraging your children to write Christmas cards is a great way to spread good cheer. Not only will this allow your kids to get creative, it will also make a huge difference to family and friends who may not have seen your little ones in a while. 

You can also get involved by writing your kids little notes from Santa (perhaps delivered by their adopted Elf?), so that they know Santa’s still thinking of them even though they can’t go to see him at the moment. 

A final word

We know all too well how bad parent guilt can be, especially at this time when many Christmas activities are on pause. But it’s important to remember that in most cases, our kids are far more interested in emotional reassurance and quality time with us than festive events or an abundance of gifts. This Christmas, try not to be too hard on yourself and remember that you’re likely doing a much better job of parenting than you think. 


Need a helping hand during this festive season? Bubble connects parents with amazing, local babysitters and nannies – download the free app for iOS or Android.