All parents love the joy and wonder they see in their children’s eyes on Christmas morning. We envision languorous, loving exchanges of gifts and resulting hugs, sips of hot toddies by the fire, and magical elves that cook breakfast and bag up a landfill’s worth of wrapping paper and bows as classic Christmas tunes serenade our relaxing repose.
The reality, however is a bit different. For instance, at 6 a.m. on December 25th, we are already blurry-eyed (or hungover if you previewed the hot toddies after Midnight Mass) from staying awake until 2:30 a.m. to:
- Wait for sugar plums to start dancing (start, already!) in their bursting-with-excitement heads.
- Finish, or, er, start, building that bike or 250-piece deluxe dollhouse and furniture with magnifying glass and a hot glue gun.
- Clean up reindeer poop and free Santa from the chimney after a few too many cookie/milk combos.
Because of these challenges, we often set ourselves up for a less-than-satisfying experience, not the ideal we dream of. So in order to help parents everywhere better prepare and maybe even enjoy the day, I’ve created this handy checklist of THREE WISE things to remember:
1. Three Things to Have on Hand for Opening Gifts
Why? Because every parent knows toys are boxed for maximum display, not ease of removal. Take Polly Pocket or Barbie sets, for instance. Military-grade plastic strips and twist-ties are used to hold EVERY SINGLE limb, accessory, and hair in place in the box. These require hours of finger-numbing work to loosen, untie, or remove. Same goes for CDs and DVDs. They are encased in SPF 1000 plastic which you may or may not be able to remove before the second or fifth installment is released at Easter.
2. Three Things to Prepare Ahead of Time
Next, be sure to have 212 batteries on-hand for all those toys that say:
No kid wants to open a gift they can’t play with until you run out to the store in your pjs and curlers to get the batteries!
Finally, despite our best efforts to avoid them, there are always toys on our kids’ wish lists that tend to be a bit noisy:
A great set of headphones attached to something playing those classic carols will help you keep your sanity in check.
3. Three things to Make this Christmas the Most Magical and Memorable
More important than anything else, be sure to take the time to ENJOY Christmas morning…these are precious memories for you and your family. Can’t walk in the living room because of the huge mess? Leave it for a while. As long as the baby isn’t trying to eat a ribbon or the cat trying to do her business in the crinkled wrapping paper, let it go. At least until you need to search for the miniscule missing part that makes this year’s must-have toy go BING, BANG, BONG (bet you’re glad I recommended those headphones now, huh?).
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your time together as a family. Bake a batch of cookies. Sing some carols. Attend church together in matching ugly Christmas sweaters (don’t forget to take a photo too…it will be great for embarrassing your kids in their teen years!). Laugh and joke and do all the things that make family time great. When you just can’t stand being together any longer, say, 11 am, head off to relax a bit…
…so you’re recharged and ready for more TOGETHER TIME!
And finally, be sure to teach your kids what this joyous day is truly all about. No, not that:
Wishing you and yours a Blessed Christmas and
Very Happy New Year too!