Happy christmas children

What do a 4 year old and 2 year old understand about Christmas?

Day 5 of #blogmas and I’m thinking about how different my 2 and 4 year old are in their understanding of Christmas. It’s an interesting one to ponder because I realise that for the first time this year, my 4 year old girl in particular is recognising Christmas as an important tradition in her own right. Even if a lot of that is about chocolate.

For my 2 year old, it’s all about the chocolate.

2 year old

It’s exciting. She senses a general air of excitability, especially from her older sister who just seems to race around the house with seemingly never-ending energy.

It involves chocolate. She gets a chocolate from the Advent Mouse every morning, sometimes even before breakfast. She still looks excitedly puzzled each morning.

Father Christmas is around. She knows there’s a man with a big white beard pictured a lot and that we talk about him.

There’s a pretty tree with lights on in the lounge. She does love the tree. I really don’t think she remembers last year’s, but this year she helped us decorate it by really carefully and thoughtfully placing some baubles and ornaments on.

She knows we’re talking about presents a lot, but probably hasn’t realised she’s going to get some. Which neatly leads me into…

4 year old

There are presents coming. We talk about presents frequently. She’s written her letter to Father Christmas and seems to add to the list of presents she’d like on a daily basis. I also use the anticipation of presents as a neat discipline tool…

She has to be a good girl to get those presents. Understanding this doesn’t always work, I admit. But it often does. She knows Father Christmas is watching and brings more presents to children who are kind and listen the first time and are generally good.

There is a lot of chocolate. Whilst 2 year old is excited by chocolate, 4 year old is OBSESSED. “Can I have another chocolate?” “No! You can eat some fruit for a change!”

Christmas tree with lights
Pretty lights

She gets to help choose and decorate the tree. Now 4 year old remembers this from the previous year and the year before. She now loves to help choose our tree each year and decorate it. She really enjoys seeing the tree lit up with lights in the evening.

She gets to see her relatives and friends more often. 4 year old now understands that Christmas time brings lots of events and with that comes more family time and opportunities to see friends.

There are parties. She’s anticipating the Christmas parties already. Last year I think we went to about 5.

She gets to sing Christmas songs. She arrived home from school yesterday singing Away in a Manger and asked me to buy a CD containing Christmas songs for the car. She’s been practicing her nativity play at school, which brings me onto…

Christmas is when the baby Jesus was born. This year, 4 year old has definitely grasped this. She knows that an angel told Mary that the baby Jesus would be born, that he was born, that Jesus was God’s son and that it involved a stable, three kings and some shepherds and more angels. I’m impressed at how quickly this has sunk in this year compared to the last and I’m obviously pleased she’s beginning to understand it’s not all about the pressies.

Next year, I’m fully expecting that they’ll be so into it, they’ll cook the turkey for me. Maybe.

Read day 4 of #blogmas here.


Working Mum of two, living in Didsbury, Manchester, in a house which breeds washing, mushed up raisins and various toys in the brightest primary colours. Oh, and the odd empty wine glass.

2 thoughts to “What do a 4 year old and 2 year old understand about Christmas?”

  1. I have to say that I LOVE the age of 4 and over at Christmas time. The magic in Grace’s eyes as she has watched her video message from Father Christmas over the last two years has been so gorgeous. It sounds like your two are really going to enjoy it. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo 🙂 x

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