Does 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.
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.)
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!