Although we think of Christmas as being a celebration for the kids, there are lots of boring, grown-up parties they have to attend, too.

Charlotte Melia, MD of bespoke party planning company Dazzle & Fizz, says:

"Keeping the children entertained in the build-up to Christmas can be tricky. With Christmas adverts everywhere, the whole focus can seem to be overtly commercial. There are lots of ways to entertain the children without spending a fortune, however. Here are our top three festive activities to keep the children engaged, without a battery-operated toy in sight!"

Alternative advent calendar

For this, you will need either a reusable advent calendar, or 24 empty containers (jars with lids, or miniature fabric bags work well). Number the containers 1-24. In each container, write a charitable activity or positive task for the family to complete. For example 1) Donate 3 x canned goods to your local food bank. 2) Pick a toy to donate to a children's charity. 3) Spend time with an elderly relative. Complete each task as a family to redefine the spirit of Christmas and focus on giving as opposed to receiving.

Christmas treasure hunt around the house

Keep the children entertained for hours with a cryptic treasure hunt around the house! Be aware of the age range of the audience and adapt the clues to suit. If you have a wide age range, organise the children into mixed-age teams, each with an older child as a team leader. The clues should be Christmas themed and build towards an end prize. Elongate the fun by choosing an end prize that requires making or creating. For example, hide a loot-bag filled with make-your-own-snow-globes as the end gift. The children can then build their snow globes straight after as a new activity.

Keep them active

As the cold nights draw in, it can be hard to keep children active. This can be a double problem, as children will inevitably eat a lot more treats at this time of year. Overcome this by encouraging active games that the children can play together. If you're tight on space, choose a competition that can be completed as individuals, such as a Wii tournament to keep them excited, engaged and active. It's an oldie, but a goodie - a game of Twister is active, fun and can be enjoyed by everyone. Or better still, take the whole family on a scavenger-hunt-style nature walk. Select 10 items the children must find or see on the walk, ticking each item off as you go.

For more inspiration visit the Dazzle and Fizz website at