In our family, we have a tradition of opening Christmas gifts in order of age. The younger kids are usually the most impatient, so we go from youngest to oldest, each taking a turn to tear open the paper surrounding their presents. This gives the little kids something to look at or play with while they wait for the older people to have their turn, and simultaneously offers the adults and big kids a glimpse at what everyone else is opening.
We do this in an effort to prolong the magic of Christmas morning, or in other words make the fun last a little longer. Over the years we’ve also found that it reduces the chaos, forces everyone to be patient and increases our kids’ appreciation for each gift.
It’s important to note that the larger the gathering, the more time this will take, so if you have 10 or more people together on Christmas morning this might not work for you.
There are a few more things you can do to ensure all of the gifts aren’t opened by 8am. Nobody wants to be standing in the living room staring at their family members thinking, “now what?” on Christmas morning. Instead, why not try one of the following three ideas:
Wrap Stocking Items: If stocking items are left unwrapped, it will take kids exactly 90 seconds to tear through the entire contents. But wrapping stocking stuffers prolongs the activity, and also gives kids more time to revel in each goodie.
Take a Breakfast Break: In between the opening of the stockings and the gifts, why not take a breakfast break? Make a big breakfast the whole family can cook together, like pancakes and whipped cream or bacon and eggs with a side of home fries. Even the tiniest family member can get involved by helping to set the table. Turn up your favourite holiday tunes and make it a new tradition that breakfast is served and enjoyed before the gifts can be opened.
Watch a Movie: As soon as the present opening is done, you can curl up with the family and watch your favourite holiday movie as you look over your gifts. There’s something magical about staying cozy and comfortable on Christmas morning, and this is a great way to do that while passing some time, especially for those with kids who wake up early.
Here are a few more ideas for making the magic of the morning last that I’ve heard about from other people with young kids:
- Organizing a scavenger hunt for the BIG Christmas present so that it prolongs the gift opening.
- Head outside for a walk, or go sledding and/or skating as a family. You can open some of the presents, get a good dose of fresh air and burn off a bit of energy and then return home to open the remainder of the presents with cups of hot cocoa.
- Sing Christmas carols. If your family is musical, it might be nice to add some carol signing to your present opening. You can do it after the gifts, or in between the stockings and the presents.
- Skype with family that lives far away. You can make your calls in between gift opening so the excitement and anticipation continues throughout the morning.
Do you have something special you do to make the fun on Christmas morning last a little longer? If so, we’d love to hear about it!