Christmas with a Toddler – What to Expect!

christmas with a toddler what to expect reality pros cons reviews highlights visiting santa best

Christmas with a Toddler – What to Expect and the Reality!

So I recently wrote a post about our really relaxing first Christmas with the little man. It wasn’t relaxing at all and for the ins and outs, take a read here. Christmas has never been the same – in a good and bad way! We are firmly out of the baby stage though and with the little man nearing 3 and a half (where did that go??!), we are definitely in the toddler years. And this means he’s starting to understand what Christmas is all about…that’s right, presents, more presents and copious amounts of food.

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I’ve learnt a few things over the last few years and I thought I’d share them with you here so you don’t make the same mistakes as me.

You’re welcome.

christmas with a toddler and what to expect

The Father Christmas Visit…

Visiting Father Christmas. I’ve learnt that the type of “Visit Santa” experience you have is very much dependent on who is running it and how much you are willing to pay. For a full run down of what makes a Santa visit a “good” visit, check out this post. Our first year, B literally looked aghast. The second year, the grotto had all the toys lined up at the back as you left. Not one child was interested in Santa!! Year 3, now this was a different affair – log cabin, realistic Father Christmas  and no toy distractions! This was our visit to see the man himself at Center Parcs. These guys really know how to do a proper Santa’s Grotto! You can take a look at our whole Center Parcs Winter Wonderland experience here 🙂

Basically, don’t expect to much if you’re taking your baby or toddler. And as the saying goes, you get what you pay for!

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You’ll never open a present again. Now that b is three, he gets the concept of presents. Toddlers LOVE opening presents. They love opening ALL presents.

Christmas lunch will never be the same again. Christmas lunch is not what it used to be. Sure it’s nice but we spend a lot of time during the meal trying to get the little guy to eat. Failing that, he just wants to get down mid-meal to play with toys.

Unrelaxing Christmas

No more post-Christmas dinner TV slob-out. To be fair you get to play with cool toys now but what with the excitement of the day, we find it can all get a bit much. Add in the mix of cousins and all of a sudden the house is just manic. Roll on 7pm.

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Clothes and books are NOT welcome gifts. They are for mummy! But little b just isn’t interested. He actually gets half way through ripping opening these presents and, once he realises they’re clothes, he throws them to the side. Mucho embarrassing. Who wants socks/pants, another jumper and a set of PJs for Christmas when there are toys, toys and MORE toys to be unwrapped!?!

christmas with a toddler what to expect reality pros cons reviews highlights

Travel hell. It’s busy everywhere and it’s stressful travelling at Christmas without a toddler. We had such a nightmare when b was around 18 months and it was his second Christmas. He whinged and moaned and grizzled all the way along the M4 and back again. After this trip, we purchased a dvd player and have never looked back. It has literally been a lifesaver.

So there we go, a little round up of things we’ve learnt over the last three years – aka mistakes we made and learnt from! Have you got any tips to add to survive Christmas this year?! I am really looking forward to it but it can get a bit crazy!

christmas with a toddler what to expect reality pros cons reviews highlights visiting santa best


  1. I know what you mean toddlers are always more interested in toys than books or new outfits. We took our little one to see santa last year he was a 2 months old and had no interest in the whole thing (But I wanted to remember it because it was his first christmas) the price of the packages is a whole different story though. Thanks for the tips dear… wishing you a fab holiday season a head.

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