We all want to teach our kids that there’s more to Christmas than just getting gifts, but that can be a hard concept to reinforce when they’re staring into a mountain of presents on Christmas morning. Christmas morning should be a fun and relaxing time with family, but it can easily become a wrapping paper-ripping free-for-all.
Patience, turn-taking, and the joy of giving are all virtues that you can instill in your children on Christmas morning. You just need to slow down and focus on enjoying the whole morning, rather than rushing through the present-opening experience!
Open Gifts One at a Time
This is how my family always opens presents on Christmas morning. We hand out a round of presents so that each person has a present in front of them, but then we take turns opening the gifts. Only one person opens a gift at a time. Everyone else enjoys making the person guess his present or just watching his expression when he opens it. Of course it does take a while to open all the gifts this way, but it’s a great way to teach your kids about patience.
Take Turns Handing Out Presents
Teach your children to enjoy giving as much as receiving. Have the kids take turns “playing Santa” and handing out gifts to other family members. This is especially effective when the kids hand out presents that they have made themselves!
Have Some Gifts That Kids Can Open Immediately
Be realistic about your kids’ abilities to exercise patience on Christmas morning. It is a very exciting day! It can help to have some presents that kids are able to open right away. When my brother and I were young, we were allowed to look at everything in our stockings before everyone else was ready to start opening presents. It gave us some presents to open and play with right away and, looking back, it also gave my parents an extra half hour to sleep and then grab a cup of coffee!
Plan Ahead for Breakfast
Think of some breakfast snacks that you can prepare ahead of time. Even if you normally have a big Christmas breakfast or brunch, everyone will likely want to nibble on something while they open presents. And kids will be much more open to unwrapping presents slowly if they’re not anxiously waiting for breakfast. We’re hosting Christmas at our house this year and I’m making up some banana bread, a pumpkin loaf, and a blueberry loaf a week or two in advance. I’ll freeze them and then take them out to thaw on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, our present-opening snacks are ready to go!
Give Yourself Enough Time to Take it Slow
If you’re going out to visit friends or relatives on Christmas Day, try to arrange your plans so that you aren’t expected somewhere in the morning. No one will be able to relax and enjoy watching each other open gifts if you’re on a deadline to get on the road by 9 a.m.
Enjoy the Morning!
Christmas morning isn’t just for kids. Taking it slow will also let you relax and enjoy this time with your family!