Savoring Christmas: 8 Tips for a Stress Free Morning

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It's Christmas morning! The kids are bouncing on your bed, your eyes are glued shut from being up way too late, and you hear the call of Christmas wonder! Its the most exciting morning of the whole year! Savor your Christmas mornings with these 8 simple tips:

Wrap it Now

Don't wait until Christmas Eve to wrap everything, wrap as you go or at least start tonight and you'll save yourself headache later. The goal is to get to bed early Christmas Eve so you can get enough sleep to actually enjoy the morning. As you wrap, sort the presents out by person. If you didn't keep an accurate list of everything you bought for everyone, this gives you a few days to fill in the holes or return the overflow. 

Get Rid of the Excess

Wrap smart- take off all the excess packaging and throw it away now. Cut the strings on the box, get rid of that impossible plastic barrier, put the batteries in now. Not only will everyone be able to enjoy their gifts right away, you'll save on wrapping paper and trash on Christmas day. And if you really planned it right, you spread out all that trash for garbage day so you don't get charged for extra bags. If the elves made the gift, it doesn't come in a box anyway. If its from you, your kids will be happy they don't have to have a wrestling match with the packaging. If you are giving an iPod, phone, or tablet, you can even buy an app or two to go with it (and install family safe software). Plus how nice is it to have the electronic device already charged up?! 

Check Your Background

Before you head up to bed Christmas Eve, look all around the room. Take some pictures and see if there is anything that you wouldn't want in the background Christmas morning. Actually taking the pictures helps you really see what you may miss by only looking. I can point out a whole bunch of things that I wish I would have moved in this picture. While you're at it, do you want to move any furniture quickly so it is easier to take pictures of everyone? Print off your Christmas Eve checklist now so your morning will go much smoother.

Stash Your Trash, Scissors, and Camera

Create a trash site now. Get a big box and wrap it in Christmas paper or put a trash can behind a chair so you won't see it in the photos. Sneak some scissors in your stocking or by your chair. Is your camera charged? Make sure it is somewhere close to where you'll be sitting so you can quickly grab it and capture the morning. Have a video camera? Set it up somewhere you won't really notice but can still get a good shot of the family. Invest in a tripod to make your life easier- this bendable tripod makes it's really easy to capture photos anywhere. Christmas morning all you have to do is hit record. Do you always forgot to include yourself in the photo because you're the one taking them? Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take some selfies or hand the camera to someone else for a minute. 

Create a Christmas Morning Zone

I am NOT a morning person, neither is my husband. To save our kids from our grumps, we set up a Christmas morning zone. Put a baby gate in the hallway so they can't get past and sneak peeks at the tree. Stockpile the area with healthy snacks and activities like a portable DVD player (with headphones for the earliest risers), coloring books, and small, simple toys saved for this day only like this Spirograph. It's fun for the kids because they can play with something new and the parents get to sleep a little bit longer. Even if you don't actually sleep longer, it gives you the chance to freshen up a little before going downstairs. Worried that your kids will come out way too early and play? Put a sign up that says, if it's not past 5 AM go back to bed. No need for anyone else to be cranky too. 

Enjoy the Moment

Open one present at time so you can enjoy the gift. If your child wants to play with it right away, let them. Enjoy the full moment of excitement instead of rushing them through opening everything. The young ones will avoid sensory overload and the older ones can actually appreciate what they got before they rip into something else. Did you just open a great gift from Grandma and Grandpa? If the kids are playing, you can take a quick minute to text a photo so they can enjoy your morning too.  

Stop to Eat

I love Christmas stockings but they are often full of candy. That's part of why putting healthy snacks in the Christmas morning zone is so important. Help curb that appetite before they binge on candy. If people are starting to get cranky, take a break and eat! We like to open our stockings then eat breakfast then open presents. It's a nice little rhythm. Need a great Christmas breakfast idea? Try scones (not Utah ones, the real ones)- not too sweet, fills the tummy, and you can make it on Christmas Eve and easily reheat it the next morning. Or get breakfast started the night before in the crock pot with this French Toast Casserole recipe.

Box it Up

Give everyone a basket or box to put all their new presents in. This saves all the new things from getting stepped on or sat on and stops arguments of whose is whose. When all the presents have been opened, people can easily carry their boxes around as they put things away. Be careful though, my kids like to keep their things in the box for way too long. Try making a rule about needing to give the box back by the end of the day. 

Your turn- What is your secret to Christmas morning success?