Oh the excitement of Christmas Eve! Such promise and magic. I recall putting out my stocking at the end of my bed carefully (and prominently, just so it couldn’t be missed) and begging mum for a mince pie to leave for Father Christmas. Trends have moved on considerably since my childhood, and Pinterest and indeed Facebook is full of Christmas Eve Boxes and increasingly fancy ways of preparing for Christmas Eve (we won’t mention the Elf).
If you’ve never heard of a Christmas Eve Box, don’t panic. It consists of little more than a fancy box containing Christmas PJs, a Christmas film, hot chocolate and sweets and possibly a key for Santa and some Reindeer Food. Easy enough to put together quickly and really, there’s no need to even go that far. My kids have always been delighted with sprinkling the lawn with Reindeer Food and putting out a mince pie and sherry for Father Christmas – or Santa Christmas as my son will insist on calling him, and some carrots for the Reindeer.In fact, we visited the Big Man himself at last weekend. When asked to put a drink out for him on Christmas Eve, my son promptly replied, water or juice? Father Christmas seemed quite happy with juice and so I wouldn’t even bother with Sherry unless you can spare any (I usually can’t, but maybe just for FC).
So to business. If you want to get a little fancy, and I won’t judge if you don’t – there’s plenty of other things to do after all, here’s how to make a few things for Christmas Eve.
This is little more than oats and glitter. I won’t bother to give you quantities as that would be ridiculous – just mix the two until you’re happy and then put it in a little bag for sprinkling on the lawn. The glitter will twinkle in the grass showing the Reindeer the way to the house and the oats will provide some sustenance for Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolf.
If you don’t have a chimney then rumour has it you’ll need to leave out a Santa Key. It’s a magic key, so frankly it can be made of anything. The easiest is to cut out a fancy key shape from metallic card, or ordinary card and then attack it with glue and glitter. Or if you have one of those drawers (usually found in the kitchen) full of junk, inevitably you will find a key, the purpose of which you have no idea. Tie some fancy Christmas ribbon to it and a big label with ‘Santa’s Key’ on it and the job’s a good’un.
This is nothing more than hot chocolate with large white marshmallows floating in it. Eh voila – melting snowmen. If you want to get all fancy-pants, you can put hot chocolate in a cellophane bag – one of those disposable icing bags would be ideal with marshmallows on the top, and possibly some chocolate buttons, tie it up and add a candy cane and ribbon to the neck. Add a label for Snowman Soup and if it’s a gift add instructions for the hot chocolate.
The final thing I like to do, is read Twas The Night Before Christmas to the kids before they go to sleep. If you haven’t got the book – here it is. Happy Christmas everyone.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
Clement Moore 1822