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My Simple Formula for the Perfect Family Christmas


I'm Sam.

As well as being part of the Treasure Trails team I'm also the Dad of two challenging loud Peter Rabbit obsessed adorable children!

Max is 6 and Emily is 3.

Christmas Selfie

My wife Lucy and I have been planning Christmas for weeks!

As soon as Bonfire Night comes around, even before the final sparkler has been extinguished, "Operation Perfect Family Christmas" is implemented.

Bonfire Night


I may have over played MY involvement a tad!

Correction! Lucy has been planning Christmas for weeks and my job is to nod in agreement.

A plan of action is drawn up, detailing when we will be seeing key family members.

Presents have been purchased made by Father Christmas's Elves and we are finally ready for the big day.

Phew! Thank goodness that's over.

There's a lot of pressure to create the perfect magical Christmas and us parents bear the brunt of this stress.

I want to give Max & Emily the perfect Christmas and I'm sure you are the same with your children.

But, as parents, is our idea of 'perfect' the same as our Children's?

The natural reaction is to go BIG!

Hey, you’ve worked hard all year and want to spoil your kids rotten, and I’m certain that there isn’t a single kid in the whole world who doesn’t like ripping open loads of presents on Christmas day morning!

But when does it all become too much?

Becoming Ebenezer Scrooge won’t win you any fans!

The exact opposite of going big on Christmas is to embrace your inner Scrooge! This is something that comes naturally to me!

You’ll certainly save a ton of cash but unless you get enjoyment from seeing children cry (and the rest of your family for that matter!) I wouldn’t recommend this option!

The Secret Formula to the Perfect Christmas is a Simple One!

Spend Quality Time Together!

Let’s be honest, when it's all done and dusted and the kids are back at school, what will they really remember about Christmas?

My natural answer to this question would’ve been all the amazing (and ridiculously expensive) gifts they got from Father Christmas.

That was, until I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this powerful letter written by a teacher!

Spend Quality Time Together

Wow! Who would’ve thought it?!

After wiping the tears from my eyes, I promised myself to make more opportunities to spend quality time with my loved ones!

I for one am looking forward to playing Junior Cluedo with Max (he's going to make a great Treasure Trails detective when he's older!), splashing through muddy puddles with Emily (Pepper Pig has a lot to answer to) and walking hand in hand with Lucy on a local Treasure Trail while Max is hunting for clues!

I'm 100% positive that spending quality time together as a family will make this Christmas one to treasure for years to come!

Merry Christmas & Happy Trailing!

Sam X

12th December 2018

Posted In: Christmas, Ideas

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Operation Christmas Sparkle

Call me “Scrooge”, but (for me at least) Christmas just isn’t the same as it used to be. I long for the excitement I once felt as a child - enthusiastically bouncing my way through the festive period with the traditions my parents had installed when I was a kid.

Has Christmas Lost Its Sparkle?

I blame technology and increasingly busy lives. But this Christmas I’m going to be less “Bah Humbug” and more "Ho Ho Ho"! I'm going to make an effort to bring in some fantastic activities to do with my family, both in the build-up to and on the big day itself.

Yes, it’s a great excuse to overeat, relax and wind down, but I also think Christmas is the perfect excuse to be a BIG KID; your kids will love you for it, and you’ll love yourself for it!

So, here’s what I’m doing this Christmas to rekindle the magic that I’ve lost!

Just like Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”, I’ve re-visited my Christmas Past (thankfully no ghosts were involved) to try and bring back some of the magic that I’ve lost somewhere over the past 30 years.

I’m not quite there, so I would love to hear your ideas on festive traditions you have – please comment below and we will post these for all to see – and the best couple of suggestions, I’ll make sure we do over Christmas!

Commencing Operation Christmas Sparkle! 

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 1!

Dress up! Don’t be a Scrooge, get a festive outfit. Stupid Christmas Jumpers are all the rage, but why not be original and create your own Christmas day outfit. This year I am going to decorate my PJs with paper-clipped on tinsel, and bring out the flashing Christmas Hat.

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 2!

Make some decorations with the kids. It's time to embrace the glitter and get creative. Don't worry if you make a mess, it's part of the fun!

Here’s some inspiration from Pinterest 

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 3!

Play silly games which get everyone off their bottoms.

My flamboyant Aunt used to make us play this game which I loved. It was a bit like pass the parcel, with multiple layers of wrapping paper and packaging, but with a difference! I can't recall what the prize was, it was only something silly, but it's the game I really remember.

All generations watched as we each took turns with a pair of really thick ski gloves on and a pair of blunt scissors, trying to snip our way through 10 layers of heavily sellotaped and wrapped boxes. You only had 30 seconds each and the rules were that you could only take one layer off at a time!

Still not sure what I mean? Watch this video I found on YouTube to give you more of an idea!

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 4!

Hide presents – we set an awesome I-Spy treasure hunt game a few years ago for our Trailers – it can be set around your own home really easily and makes finding the presents so much fun (my wife told me that year that the treasure hunt was more fun than the present – not sure what that says about my presents!).

You can download the game here!

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 5!

Go to a panto, and take the whole family. I still fondly remember my half blind gramps shouting “he’s behind you” when we all went to the panto one year as a kid. I am sure he couldn’t see what on earth was going on, but he absolutely loved it and it got three generations together having fun.

My advice – go local – all respect to the actors, but you often get the unplanned comical events happening!! This was always a good post-Christmas activity for us as well, as it gave us kids something to look forward to.

Did you know that here at Treasure Trails we put together our own Panto a few years ago? OH NO YOU DIDN’T! Oh Yes, we did – and here’s the proof:

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 6!

Dance to Christmas songs – and do it dad style. Don’t just leave the kids to it – do it, and do it proper. You could even do a Strictly come Christmas Dancing Special in your own lounge!

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 7!

Do something nuts!

This year, I am going to do my local Boxing Day swim in my trunks. Yes, people actually do this!

Don’t live by the sea? Why not go for a Boxing Day walk in your Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip flops?

Operation Christmas Sparkle Idea 8!

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t suggest doing a Treasure Trail would it! The perfect post-Christmas activity to get everyone out of the house.

This year we are doing the Porthcurno Treasure Hunt themed Trail and have decided we will all be dressing up as pirates for the Trail!

What’s more, we are going to communicate using our Pirate names – if you would like to know what yours is then have a look at this Pirate Name Generator.

Hopefully you’ll join me in bringing back some of the sparkle this Christmas!

So rather than remembering the escapades of Paddington and Moz the Monster from the M&S and John Lewis adverts (other department stores are available, may I add!) you’ll remember all the great things you did with your family. And, with any luck, your kids may start to look forward to the festive traditions of your family Christmas more than all the presents they’ll be getting for Christmases to come!

Please let us know your Christmas Traditions (simply comment below), and make sure you’re not alone on this mission, as like Santa himself I have my own little helpers in the form of my “Christmas Mad” wife Lucy (they say opposites attract) and my ever-energetic children Max and Emily.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Max, Sam, Lucy & Emily

22nd November 2017

Posted In: Christmas, Ideas

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