The Cool Aunt’s Guide To Planning The Perfect Family Christmas

Are you the world’s coolest aunt? Here we share our top 5 tips for planning the perfect family Christmas gathering that even the picky kids and teenagers are guaranteed to love. Read on to find out more!

If you’re in charge of planning the upcoming family Christmas celebrations, chances are that you’ll want to go all out to impress your nieces and nephews to secure your title as the world’s coolest aunt.

Being an aunt (or uncle!) can be one of life’s most exhilarating and rewarding adventures, sometimes even more so than being a parent. In fact, research refers to the aunt-niece or nephew relationship as “quasi-parenthood,” in that an aunt isn’t the mother, but still plays an integral role in raising and shaping the life of her niblings. 

However, as many of us are well aware of, planning a party for kids comes with its own set of unique challenges, especially when there lies the potential for tantrums, sass and attitude at the dinner table. Ah…the joys of toddler-hood and adolescence! Nevertheless, don’t let that scare you away from raising your party-planner hand up this upcoming holiday season. 

Keep reading for our tops tips to creating the best family Christmas get together

#1 – Purchase Age-Appropriate Gifts

If you’re really looking to impress your nieces and nephews this upcoming Christmas, purchasing some amazing gifts is an absolute must. Although kids of all ages love receiving gifts (let’s be honest, us adults love it too), the last thing you want to do is buy a gift that your sassy 13 year old niece greets with a frown and finds “lame” or “childish”.

The truth is, purchasing gifts for kids can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, especially if you aren’t particularly aware of current pop culture trends and fads. 

If you’re looking for ideas on stocking fillers for her or him, look no further than our quick guide on age-appropriate gifts that are sure to impress even the hardest to please toddlers, teens or tweens. 

Gifts For 3-7 Year Olds

  • Fashion Accessories (be sure to check for choking hazards)
  • Dress Up & Role Play Costumes
  • Educational Kids Books and DVDs
  • Fidget & Sensory Toys
  • Card Games, Puzzles, Table & Board Games
  • Gift Cards and Vouchers 

Gifts For 8-12 Year Olds

  • Card Games, Board Games and Table Games
  • Educational Books and DVDs
  • Gift Cards and Vouchers
  • Roller Skates, Bicycles, Skateboards or Ball Games
  • Arts and Crafts Sets (macrame, cross-stitch, crochet and more) 

Gifts For 13-17 Year Olds

  • Earbuds, Bluetooth Headphones, Bluetooth Speakers
  • Gift Cards and Vouchers
  • Disposable Cameras
  • Skincare Sets, Bath and Body Products, Personal Grooming Tools 
  • Premium Subscriptions to streaming services (Spotify, Audible, Netflix etc)
  • Mini Projector, Personal Tablet, Smartphone, Laptop

#2 – Plan A Diverse Menu That Caters To All Palettes

It is no secret that kids (of all ages) can be incredibly picky about food. The last thing you want is to spend hours slaving over Christmas lunch or dinner, only to have the little (and not so little) ones turn their noses up at your gourmet Roasted Garlic Pomme Puree or silky Bitter Chocolate Fondant.

When it comes to planning the perfect menu, taking everyone’s tastes into consideration is key…especially when it comes to picking young ones!

While it may be tempting to just cook up or plan one menu for adults and kids to share, you will probably be better off preparing a few special (tried and tested) dishes for the younger kids to avoid any potential tears, tantrums, hunger-strikes or food fights. 

Some ideas for kid-friendly Christmas lunch of dinner dishes include

If inspiration is lacking, be sure to take the stress out of the task by sticking to one of the many kid-friendly Christmas menu plans you can find here and here.

#3 – Organise Fun Activities & Games For The Kids 

The truth is that children of all ages rage against boredom (yes, teenagers too). Whether you are dealing with a bunch of toddlers or a group of “too cool for school or Christmas lunch” tweens and teenagers, ensuring that you keep the young ones entertained for the majority of the time is key to throwing a successful family Christmas gathering.

Again, fun takes on many forms depending on the age of the children or teenagers attending your get together, so we’ve come up with a few different (and most importantly, effective) ideas that are sure to keep the boredom and tantrums away.

Activities & Games For 3-7 Year Olds

  • Cookie and Cupcake Decorating 
  • Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt 
  • Musical Chairs
  • Pass The Parcel
  • Face Painting and Temporary Tattoos
  • Colouring Books and Activities 

Activities & Games For 8-12 Year Olds

  • Cookie and Cupcake Decorating 
  • Movie, Music Video or TV Time in the cinema room
  • Truth Or Dare
  • Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt 
  • Face Painting and Temporary Tattoos
  • Limbo
  • Freeze Tag

Activities & Games For 13-17 Year Olds

  • Secret Santa or Gift Grab
  • A game of “Guess The Tune” or “Guess The Movie”
  • At home escape room
  • Truth Or Dare 
  • Lip Sync Battle
  • Cookie and Cupcake Decorating 

#4 – Involve The Kids In The Party Preparations

With so many things that go into organising the ultimate family Christmas gathering, the more hands on deck, the merrier! Planning a party or gathering can be stressful even for the best of us, so why not get the kids to join in on the fun?

The trick to involving children or teenagers in the party preparations is not just asking for ideas and opinions — it is about listening to them, while taking their ideas and suggestions seriously.

Research has found that involving children in the planning process of events and gatherings can breed a whole new sense of excitement and anticipation on their part, creating the perfect opportunity for bonding, learning and confidence building. 

Furthermore, when kids are involved in aspects such as food preparation, decorating and more, there is a much higher chance of them enjoying themselves on the day of the event, leading to a stress-free experience for all.

Whether it’s involving a picky eater in the menu planning or letting the family artist channel their creativity through Christmas cards, allowing the young ones to plan and use their own imagination to create is always a fantastic idea, and one that will guarantee your title of the world’s coolest aunt! 

Explore the many benefits of involving children in festive preparations here.

#5 – Embrace Your Inner Child 

Last but not least, the world’s coolest aunt is the one who can let down her hair, let loose and embrace her inner child by joining in the fun on Christmas day. After all that cooking, cleaning and party planning, you deserve to enjoy the day with your amazing nieces and nephews by spending quality time with them and engaging in all the fun activities and games you have planned on their behalf.

The truth is, not everything will go to plan (unless you also happen to be the world’s luckiest aunt), so embrace the imperfection and cherish the precious moments with your niblings, siblings, parents and relatives.

These are the moments you’ll fondly look back on in the future, so be sure to make them the memories that last a lifetime! 

And there you have it – 5 tried and tested tips for the cool aunt’s guide to family Christmas. Make this year’s children’s Christmas party one your amazing nieces and nephews can all enjoy with these awesome tips and tricks!

What are some of your personal tips for hosting the ultimate family Christmas gathering with kids? Be sure to share your tips, tricks and ideas in the comments section below! 

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