Our Favorite Christmas Tradition: Opening a Present a Day for the 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas Traditions: Why We Open One Present a Day During the 12 Days of Christmas

When I was little, on Christmas morning, we opened all of our presents, but we did it rather slowly.  I would open a present, then my brother would, than my parents.  We took our time.  There was no frantic ripping of paper in a frenzy that was over in five minutes.  Sometimes we even stopped opening so someone could play with their present for a little bit.

When my husband and I had kids, we noticed that for our kids, the excitement of Christmas morning was in opening a present and then playing with it.  In fact, we noticed our little ones actually got fatigued opening their presents and waiting for others to open theirs.

So, slowly, a new tradition was born.  Now, we open our presents slowly over the 12 days of Christmas.

What We Do On Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, all of our kids receive one present from Santa, which they open.  Our kids are also blessed to receive gifts from both sets of grandparents and their godparents, so they open a few of those.  In general, our kids open three presents each on Christmas morning.

Then, for the next 11 days of Christmas, they open one present a day.

Why We Open a Present a Day

Does this sound like torture for kids?  Not for our kids.  In fact, every year they ask that we continue to open presents this way.

The anticipation of Christmas lasts longer.  I think it’s because there is so much hype and build up for Christmas, that when it’s over in just an hour or two, it’s disappointing.  My kids love that every morning there is something to look forward to–another present to open!

Time to play with and enjoy their presents.  Rather than being overwhelmed by all the new presents given at once, the kids get to savor them.  Last year Bookworm got a scooter, and he was out for an hour on Christmas day enjoying it.  The next day he opened a book he had wanted, so he could take the time during the day to read it and enjoy it.

The disappointment of Christmas being over is lessened.  As a kid, there is a lot of anticipation for Christmas.  For our kids, rather than it being over in one day, we continue to enjoy the Christmas season and opening presents.  When we officially declare Christmas over on the Epiphany, the kids aren’t sad because they’ve been enjoying the giving spirit of Christmas day after day for nearly two weeks.

While this isn’t a tradition that most people would endorse or use, for us, opening a present a day is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas.

What unusual Christmas traditions does your family have?

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