Done with gifts by 7am? Tips on making Christmas morning last longer.
When you have kids, Christmas day (or better said, morning), can be over before the newspaper hits your doorstep. As a child, I can remember sitting amongst a mountain of discarded wrapping paper and foil bows with every single present ripped opened and haphazardly played with…all by 7:30am.
Here are some ideas for prolonging the magic on Christmas morning and keeping everyone entertained and happy throughout the day.
1. Wrap Stocking Stuffers
Many of you may already do this, but when I was growing up, everything in our stocking was unwrapped. It would take my sister and me about 45 seconds to extract the entire contents of our stockings, giving minimal attention to each shiny new trinket because we were too excited to see what else was buried in our giant sock of spoils. Yes, it takes more time to wrap, and yes, it’s not totally PC, but it’ll buy you a lot more time and allow your children to give greater appreciation to each goodie.
2. Take a Breakfast Break
After the Santa gifts and stockings have been torn into and before ambushing what’s under the tree, make it a family tradition to take a hiatus for that morning meal. Cook something special and unusual like fruity pancakes with whip cream, giant cinnamon buns or cheesy quiches (call it egg pie, and the kids will actually eat it). While breakfast is being prepared, the kids will have an opportunity to enjoy Santa’s gifts and you can guzzle at least one cup of coffee before the rest of the presents are revealed.
3. Play Santa and Take Turns
This one’s a classic, but works wonders on several levels. Assign one of your children (or have them take turns), playing “Santa”—this job entails finding a gift for each person under the tree. Once everyone has a gift to open, each person will take a turn unwrapping his or her gift. Mainly, this allows the gift giver and gift receiver to share in the excitement and gratitude of each gift. If at the end, there are more presents for the kids than parents, which is usually the case, let them go at it (this also avoids the “she/he-got-more-presents-than-I-did” traditional sibling arguments).
4. Always Purchase an Outdoor Gift
If your family works like mine, Cabin Fever starts to set in around 10:30am. To avoid this, make sure you’ve purchased something you can play with outdoors like a snow fort building cube, a soccer ball or even gift wrap up a giant branch and call it a walking stick! Getting some fresh air will keep everyone energized and in good spirits. And, makes them tired for an early bedtime too, just sayin’.
5. Write Thank You Notes
I know, I know…boor-ringggg. But at least you can get a jump start so you (and I’m specifically talking to the moms here) are not left holding the bag in January for everyone’s gifts! Have a package of Thank You notes ready and plan to sit down in the afternoon to knock out 3-4 cards.
And kids, you are NOT off the hook. If they’re too young to write, have them do a scribble or two on the inside fold. If they are old enough to jot a few words of gratitude, have them write a quick thanks, or at minimum, write their name at the bottom.
If you’ve accomplished all of these things by 10am, then crash some friends’ or family’s home for a visit because nothing is open and it’ll be a looong day.