Delayed Gratification

Present FlurryDoes your Christmas morning devolve into a flurry of wrapping paper with gifts tossed into a heap? Do you leave family gatherings with no idea of who gave anyone what?

I have a theory: We open gifts too fast to enjoy them! In our race to get each other more more MORE, we appreciate everything less less LESS.

It’s not that those gifts aren’t wonderful or that we don’t appreciate them. It’s that we simply don’t allow ourselves the time to.

Here are a couple of delayed gratification techniques that my family and I use to help. Hopefully there’s an idea in here that will inspire a new tradition for your family, too.

1. The eight days of grandparent gifts

I devised this strategy to solve for of the sleigh load of grandparent gifts that arrive on our doorstep. Last year we had our daughter (1 year old at the time) open them all Christmas day, along with her gifts from us, and after a while she had a melt down about not wanting to open any more presents. That is ridiculous on so many levels.

So this year, I counted the number of grandparent gifts (8) and explained to our 2 year old that she could open one of those presents each night for the 8 days leading up to Christmas.

She loves it! She looks forward to picking her gift, weighing her options (in mind and hand), and deciding on the perfect one. Then every night after dinner, she opens one and spends the evening really exploring it and appreciating it. It brings back the quality to the quantity.

Day 1 of the 8 days of grandparent gifts: doctor kit.
Day 1 of the 8 days of grandparent gifts: doctor kit.

2. Only stockings before breakfast

On Christmas morning, that’s our rule: only stockings before breakfast. I should clarify. I am talking about what we open, not what we wear.

Stocking stuffers are plenty to keep the kids entertained, especially given the over-indulgent tendencies of the stuffers of those stockings (myself included). In the meantime, the adults can have time to savor a cup of coffee and the moment.

3. Hour gifts

My mom came up with this idea when I was in fourth grade. Initially, I was horrified, but after trying it, I quickly came around. (Although the first hour gift that year was a Swatch, which I then proceeded to watch obsessively all day. That was a little cruel.)

Behold: the Swatch, with the rubber ’80s guards!

The idea is, well, you can probably guess. Everyone opens one gift on the hour for as long as you have gifts to open. Try it. Your kids might complain at first, but I think you’ll like it. It’s a tradition I’ve been happy to carry over into my own household. It makes the joy of the day last that much longer.

So there you go. Now you have a few ideas to help tame the flurry. For family gatherings, I recommend this gift tag guessing game, too. And if you have your own methods, please share!

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7 thoughts on “Delayed Gratification

  1. This is likely me missing the point again but now I can’t stop picturing Ryan sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, wearing nylons. I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry.

  2. Oh I love these ideas. We’ve contemplated saving gifts to open on Epiphany, the day set aside to celebrate the three wise men arriving and presenting gifts to the baby Jesus. We haven’t committed to doing it yet but I do so love the idea of savoring the gifts a bit more.

    Aloha Sweet Friend,

    How lucky am I to be a fellow bloggy mom and to be on this sweet journey right along with ya. I’m following you now from the December Bloggy Moms hop.

    If you’re up for a bit of a ride I’d love, love, love for you to join me at “Local Sugar Hawaii where we’re riding the wave of life together, one adventure at a time. And this weekend we’re ringing in the new year together at An Aloha Affair. You can link up all of your creative work and share it with other sweet souls looking to make meaningful connections. Save ya a spot?

    Happy New Years to You and Yours.

    1. So glad you enjoyed them. I love your wise men gift idea, too. The holidays (and our lives even) are so rushed. I’m always looking for ways to really take the time to savor those special moments. We only get them once.

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