Christmas takes on a very different meaning when you become a parent. The ‘Let’s Meet for a Christmas Drink’ night with every passing acquaintance is replaced by chance meetings with old school friends at 10pm in the queue at Smyth’s. While nocturnal festivities are a distant memory, a whole new world of seasonal events opens up. However, rather than jumping straight in and booking the flights to Lapland, we suggest you pace yourself. There is a good 8 -10 years of Santa trains to depart yet…
Children under 2 will not remember anything. In fact they might understandably be terrified of a strange bearded man dressed in red (Clausophobia is real!) However we still recommend dressing them as an elf and bringing them to a grotto for the obligatory photo. Just keep it simple. And perhaps check out what’s happening in your local shopping centre. You don’t want to queue for 2 hours for them to have a melt-down when they aren’t allowed eat the fake snow.
For toddlers between 2 and 5, we suggest you raise your game slightly. And although they will most likely forget that you made such a huge effort (whilst vividly remembering the time that you ate the last of their chocolate buttons forever more) the delight on their faces will stay with you forever.
Our Top 5 Christmas Events for Small Children
Here’s a few suggestions for lovely Christmas activities with smallies. But be sure to check our InspireMe.ie to find out a full list of what’s on near you.
Winterval – Waterford
The Winterval Festival in Waterford is one of Ireland’s best Christmas Festivals. The main man at Santa’s Kingdom comes highly rated. There are great Christmas Markets for a cheeky glass of mulled wine and some present shopping. But what we particularly love is the Toddler Chill Out Area in the House of Waterford Crystal. There is a free play area of under 5’s each Saturday and Sunday during Winterval. Who said toddlers and crystal don’t mix. Find out more here.
Santa Babies – Sligo
The Hawk’s Well Theatre is one of our favorite venues for Family Friendly events. On Saturday 9th December they have a series of short concerts specifically designed for parents and grandparents to enjoy in the company of babies and toddlers. With music, tea/coffee and mince pies this will be a lovely relaxed event. And no-one needs to worry if little ones decide to sing-along. Find out more here.
Frozen Sing a-Long – Clare
Pantomimes can be tricky for small children. While some will be mesmerised by Prince Charming, others are left scarred by the Ugly Sisters. Worst case they may have to removed from the auditorium in hysterics. A sing-along to one of their favorite movies is a great alternative. There’s the excitement of the venue, the sense of occasion and the opportunity to dress-up. But crucially they know what’s going to happen next, so no nasty surprises. Glór Ennis have a sing-a-long Frozen with face-painting on Saturday 9th December. Start practising the Elsa plaits now. Find out more here.
Tracks in the Snow – Dublin
Trad musicians, The Henry Girls are performing at The Ark in Temple Bar during the month of December. Suitable for ages 4 and up, this is going to be a really special show. The Ark specialise in high-quality performances designed specifically for young audiences. A great way to get your kids to experience the joy of the arts at a young age. Find out more here.
For smaller smallies we suggest checking out one of the many toddler groups organised by Dublin City Libraries. With lots of Christmas songs and festive storytelling, these wonderful free, regular meet-up’s are a perfect excuse to get out of the house. Find one near you here
Glow – Cork
There’s lots of festive fun in Cork courtesy of Glow. Bishop Lucey Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland. This superb event will feature ten costumed performers, six elf puppets, two reindeer puppets and a giant Santa, all set to fantastic original Christmas-themed traditional music. Totally free and on every weekend in the run-up to Christmas this is a must see for Corkonians. We also love that it starts at 4.30pm. Dark enough for atmosphere, but early enough not to interfere with bedtime. Wrap them up warm and maybe head for a hot-chocolate afterwards? Find out more here.
The days are long but the years are short.
Make the most of these early Christmas and you’ll have a bank of memories for ever more.
This is only a small sample of some of the great events happening all over the country. Don’t forget to visit www.inspireme.ie regularly to find lots of inspiration for things to do in your own locality. You can sign up here to receive regular updates on what’s on in your area. Finally, all events and details listed were correct at time of going to press. But please check with the organisers for updates before you travel.