How to be a Fairy Godmother this Christmas

Stumped for ideas?  Dilemma Emma tells you how to wow the kids

Dilemma Emma is the wisest, kindest, loveliest 50-year-old agony aunt in the world.  She can teach children to bake or knit Missoni scarves while knowing everything about conventional education you could hope for.  She’s the one happy to cook on the beach, join the singalong or sleep in the tent when the rest of us have long given up and gone inside.

Dear Dilemma Emma,

Christmas is coming and what do I buy? I don’t want to give cash; I have 7 godchildren, 4 children and 9 nieces and nephews…. HELP!

What do you give? I’m telling you now – give an event, a memory, an activity. No child that your life touches will be in need of another item to clutter up their shelves, most likely to be dispatched to their local charity shop mid-January. Instead, take them, send them, go with them and have some fun! Assign a budget, devise a plan, book, go, participate, enjoy …oh and take photos, loads of photos.

Herewith some tried, tested and all round crackers to get you started:

0-3 :  Throw a Party

Throw a party. All the best fun is had at the Christmas works do so why shouldn’t you, as a grandparent, parent, aunt, godmother, have a works do too?

Decide the budget, which will dictate the venue, then choose a time and date, invite friends. If all of the children in your life vaguely get on, invite them all to you.  You can send the coolest free invites by Paperless Post.  Make and take crackers, the ridiculous headbands, make honey sandwiches.  Do your own magic tricks or if you really can’t face it, spend the money you would have dropped in the Early Leaning Centre on an entertainer, a bubble machine or persuade a teenager to give them a disco.  Take loads of photos.

If nearer 0 than 3, have a cracker of a lunch/ tea/coffee for you somewhere and then give them a signed or dedicated first edition book from your local bookshop.

Fortnum and Mason

Peter Harrington 

Daunt Books


Daunt Books: Big Books for Little People
Big Books for Little People from Daunt Books

If all else fails or as well as, buy The Night Before Christmas, pop up version of the classic poem, by Robert Sabuda …. Can’t go wrong with a beautiful book, ever.  This really is the one book all children must have; a magical buy.

5+:  Frozen Sing Along

What’s not to love?  You can sing your heart out, no-one will stare and your goddaughter will think you are the coolest woman in town. Why stop there? Get those dressing up plaits on, go for it or should we say… let it go!

Assorted cinemas, check locally for full booking details.

Boys may not be too over excited but don’t gender stereotype –  choose a different sing along… Lion King? Boys need to dress up and sing too, most probably more than the girls. Since Lion King doesn’t offer singalong shows it may be you with the Singalong Lion King DVD at home.

8+:  Chocolate Making Adventure

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate tasting Class

Go along, make, eat, take photos.  A fun-filled hour or two that guarantees to be messy and the children go home with their creation beautifully wrapped.

12+: Get Active

Lee Valley VeloPark

Go to the velodrome in the Olympic park. Helmets on and say you have cycled in the grooves of the greatest. Food has to be involved after that…plenty of restaurants nearby.

Or go to the Olympic park slide. You can all zoom down the terrifying sculpture. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to zoom down the terrifying Anish Kapoor sculpture together, something for them to tell their children.

18+ Boys: Shaving Lesson

Take them to one of London’s most iconic barbers, Geo F. Trumper, where they will be swaddled in warm fluffy towels, treated like gentlemen and taught the life skill of caring for their skin and shaving expertly. Frankly, you would spend more on clothes they didn’t want from Top Man. Meet them afterwards for tea in Fortnum & Mason. Blokes are tricky to buy for but this has never failed to please.

18+ Girls:

Take them to an inspiring talk, hear Alexandra Schulman and give them the tickets wrapped inside a copy of Vogue.

21+: Cocktail Making


Other than ‘I’m always there for you talk’, you can send them on a cocktail making course and they will love you forever and when they’re ‘amazeballs’ successful they will remember that day with a glowing fondness.

Classes all around the UK, including Harvey Nichols.

Or stretch their brains at the How To Academy and then take them to Polpo for a snack… you will all have a great evening! There are talks on everything from taking great photos to how to get into advertising and quote HIGH50 for your 10% discount

A warm fuzzy feeling guaranteed all around.  Good luck, let us know what you’re doing with the kids this Christmas or let Dilemma Emma know how it all goes at  And please send Dilemma Emma any questions about your kids you’d like her to help with.