I love Christmas time, and especially love Christmas morning. I have always had a hard time sleeping because of all the anticipation for what is to come Christmas morning. There are a few traditions we have adopted in our family to make things great.
- Invite someone over Christmas Eve to make the time move quicker for the kids
- Bring out all the presents right before bed to build the anticipation
- Set a time when people are allowed to wake up
- Open Santa presents and stockings
- Force everyone to eat breakfast
- Open presents systematically
- Ensure a good mix of shock value, long term need, and short term fun presents
- Focus on your Family
When Christmas Eve comes around, kids are usually wired, and can’t wait to go to bed. One year, we tried to make it special by turning out the lights and having dinner by the Christmas tree, but Josh was so stressed that Santa would think we were asleep and come to our house early that we had to stop ten minutes into it.
Having people over, or going to someone’s house really helps in making the time pass. It gives kids something to do while they wait for the magic time to go to bed.
Bring out the presents
This may be counter-intuitive if you actually want your kids to sleep, but for me, the magic of seeing all the presents come out of Mom’s closet and go under the tree makes Christmas great.
The kids may not sleep any better, but it builds up the excitement!
We have a rule that you can’t come wake us up until 6AM. Part of this is that we need our sleep, but really, this is also established to build the anticipation. I loved being awake with my brothers, just looking at the clock and counting down the minutes.
When we do get up at 6AM, we let everyone open their presents from Santa, and their stockings. This gives them a taste of what’s to come, but then we make them eat some real breakfast. “Real Food, not candy”
Then, its time for the presents. When I was growing up, we each opened one present at a time. As you can imagine, with 8 siblings, it took a significant amount of time to get back to your turn. It also really shows if someone else got more presents. (Mom always got the most,)
My wife’s family did the complete opposite. It was more of a free for all. Open your presents whenever you want. Although, this might seem great, Christmas morning is over so fast, that you hardly know what happened.
Mallory and I have taken an in between approach. Everyone picks a present and opens it at the same time. Then everyone picks their next present and they all open at the same time, etc. This has worked well for our family. Anyone else have a different tradition they like?
It is the stressful job of parents to ensure that the presents their kids get make things magical. There are different varieties of presents that will help you with this.
- Shock Value Presents: (New Bike, Large Ball, Pogo Stick…)
- Long Term Needs/Wants: (Clothes, Games, Backpacks
- Short Term Fun: (Lego’s, Games, Dolls, Nerf Guns..)
To make Christmas last, it is nice to have a mix of everything, so that you can enjoy it now, and enjoy it for months to come.
Focus on Family
Lastly, the most important thing to do on Christmas is to focus on your family and Jesus Christ. Put your phones and laptops away. Take the time to enjoy your children’s company. They are great people, and they just want to be with you. Invest your time in the things that matter most, your family.