Making the Most of Christmas Morning

It can be more than just tearing into presents!

Christmas Morning

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!

15 Responses to Making the Most of Christmas Morning

  1. Donna says:

    The very idea of every one sitting with gifts in hand that they can’t open would have been disastrous in our family. We did that opening stockings but not the regular gifts under the tree. We took turns, opened one gift at a time and when my children were young took lots of breaks in between. After all for very young children opening gifts can become overwhelming.
    However, only the one opening a gift had one in reach and who ever opened a gift would then find one for someone other than himself and hand it out. As all tags were read aloud (with older sibling or parent helping non readers) the from wasn’t as important as the to line. Merry Christmas everyone!

  2. Helen says:

    These are all excellent tips! Very well written.

  3. caitlin says:

    i just love the story.

  4. MasterHamster says:

    This is pretty much how my family does Christmas, what a well written article. This is how I was raised, and I am passing that on to the next generation.

  5. WebbieMom says:

    Thank you for the article – we have always done this with our family. Our kids are in late grade school and middle school, and we don’t like being at other places where they just tear them all open in 10 minutes with no care for others or giving of thanks.

  6. Cindy says:

    thanks, great ideas…

  7. SparkleUnicorn1998 says:

    I can’t wait for Christmas morning!
    **SparkleUnicorn1998**

  8. heather says:

    Very good, I will totally be using this idea on Christmas morning.

  9. Dalek says:

    Structure is nice and all, but kids are still kids, and trying to stick to a set schedule on christmas morning kind of seems to defeat the whole purpose. It’s exciting, and to me, trying to keep kids from getting overexcited seems more frustrating than fun for both parties. It’s christmas, it’s supposed to be a little hectic. Of course, it isn’t supposed to be a grabby free-for-all either, and kids should definitely realize that, but seriously, don’t overthink it.

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