As a young girl growing up in Kentucky, Christmas was a magical time. On Christmas Eve my brother and I climbed into the back seat of our parents’ Ford and traveled with them down a graveled country road several miles to my grandfather’s house. The big, yellow house was always filled with laughter, aunts, uncles and cousins and some of the best southern cooking you can imagine.
There were so many of us that we couldn’t all fit in the same room, and we certainly couldn’t all sit at the same table. The adults ate in the dining room at the “adult table” while my cousins and I ate in the kitchen at the breakfast table. My cousin Martha and I were the two oldest children and for a long time we were the only girls. Having to eat Christmas dinner with a bunch of rowdy little boys was always a humbling experience.
Now that I am the one in charge of Christmas dinner I realize there are lots of inexpensive fun ways to make the “children’s table” a special place. Here are a few ideas that won’t break the bank or take an enormous amount of time to do or make.
- Place a small tree in the center of the table with a basket full of non-breakable ornaments next to it and is each child is seated at the table they get to choose an ornament to hang on the tree. If you have several ornaments, each child could choose two or three.
- Get a cheap table cloth (or placemats) and let the children draw Christmas pictures on it. If they are too young to draw, let an older child trace their handprint on it. Make sure each child signs and dates it. Years from now you can put it on their “adult table” and they will love “remembering.”
- Put a small wrapped gift in the center of the children’s plates. It doesn’t have to be anything more than a set of jacks or a spinning top. Tell them they get to open the gift after they finish their food.
- Take several sheets of paper and staple them together to make a book. Decorate the cover with wrapping paper or ribbons and title it, “What I like best about Christmas.” Have a container of crayons on the table and ask each child to write what they like best about Christmas and illustrate it with a drawing. When one child finishes he or she passes it on to the next. When it goes all around the table you have a book that while it wasn’t written by William Shakespeare, I can guarantee it will be priceless!
How Do you make the children’s table special at your Christmas dinner? I’d love to know!