When the day comes that your child stops believing in Santa, keep the holiday magic alive with these ideas and traditions!

20 Ideas & Traditions to Keep the Holiday Magic Alive

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I knew the day would come, but I wasn’t ready.  I love the magic Santa adds to Christmas.  I love the elves and reindeer- and everything else Santa related.  I don’t want it to be over.

So what now???

Here are some ideas to get you going.

1.  Do the 12 Days of Christmas for a friend or family in need.  Get a copy of The Twelve Days of Christmas {THIS ONE is wonderful!} and brainstorm ideas that would work for your situation.  You might do little candies, visit a dollar store to choose surprises.  Make it even easier and grab a bag of assorted holiday items.  For ideas, CLICK HERE to see an assortment with Christmas rubber ducks, pencils, toys and more or HERE for more variety.

2.  If you want something similar but don’t want to be stuck to an exact schedule, try being a Secret Elf.  Throughout the month (or week or two), hide little presents, jokes or quotes for someone to find- or leave them on someone’s doorstep.

3.  Hang up your stockings!  Stockings are still fun and magical, even when the person filling them is known.  Keep up the tradition!

4.  Focus on making a holiday memory book.  Spend time together making a list of traditions, experiences, and favorite memories.  Choose a form that works for you- journal, scrapbook or a style all your own- and start creating.  Add stickers, glitter glue, or holiday paper for even more fun. The nice part with this project is it doesn’t have to be completed in this year {let’s not add to the holiday stress!} it can be an ongoing project.  Each year add more, jot things down and have it become another family tradition.

5.  Attend a religious event.  If religion is part of your family, find activities and events to focus on your holiday beliefs.

6.  Visit a senior living center or nursing home.  Help kids focus outside of themselves and see what Santa (and Christmas overall) is really about.

7.  Pretend!  Yes, they know the truth of Santa but let everyone pretend and feel the excitement anyway.  My kids LOVE doing this!  Someone throwing a tantrum?  There’s an elf- quick!  Get on your best behavior!  It’s still exciting even when it’s make believe.

8.  Go searching for Christmas lights!  Maybe even make a map of where you’ve found them and have a special night for visiting your favorites.

9.  Have a Christmas bonfire.  Bundle up, serve hot cocoa, sing some Carols and share favorite holiday memories.

10.  Do holiday crafts.  There are TONS of holiday crafts to do.  Find some that fit your child’s interest and go to town.

11.  Put out presents “Santa style.”  Sneak up in the night and add your presents to the pile.  Surprises are always fun- even from Mom or Dad!

12.  Have a Polar Express night.  Hop in your PJ’s, grab a cozy blanket and a flashlight and turn out the lights.  Head to your train {or couch, or tent}, watch the movie or read the book and enjoy some hot chocolate.

13.  Pull out your advent calendar.  Keep up the excitement with a daily reminder.  You could even add a new one to the mix.  There are lots of fun advent calendars for bigger kids.  I know this Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar is on a wish list in my house.

14.  Make gingerbread houses!  Grab a kit or make your own.  {or make gingerbread men. or firetrucks. or spaceships. or elf castles}

15.  Read your favorite holiday books.  Even when kids are older, reading together can be an awesome experience for everyone!

16.  Have an annual ornament.  Every year, collect an ornament for each child.  It could be something they make or a reminder of something important to them during the year.  Store them in their own box so they can hang their own ornaments.  {you could even let them have an individual little tree to put them on}

17.  If you do Elf On The Shelf, keep doing it!  If you have younger kids, let the older ones help.  It will be fun to have them involved and help them feel part of the traditions.

18.  Start Christmas Eve traditions.  It could be a special meal (like bread bowls with soup), opening a present, doing a craft or getting holiday PJ’s.  It spreads out the cheer!

19.  Choose a night in December and camp out by the Christmas tree.  Grab your sleeping bags and holiday music for a slumber party by the tree.

20.  Implement a household Boxing Day.  While origins and traditions vary, December 26th is known as Boxing Day in Britain.  There are many ideas and traditions but the one we do is found somewhere in British military history.  (there’s some dispute about what was actually done historically but we stick with our version)  Supposedly in some units, officers and enlisted trade roles for the day.  Try trading roles with your kids- they’re in charge for the day!  {at least to a certain extent}  Ice cream for breakfast?  Sure!  Cookies for lunch?  You got it!  {try hinting you need a nap so you won’t be cranky}

You know your child- try the ideas that will work for them.   Have more ideas?  Please share!