IMG_6843aWhen I grew up, my parents had a rule when it came to opening presents–one person in the family would open a present while all others watched.  Then, the next person took a turn.

There was no mad tearing of paper, racing through presents and having them all open in five minutes.   Not for us.  In fact, our present opening could stretch for an hour.  Afterward, we’d eat breakfast, and then we’d come back to open the stockings.

I liked it that way.

My husband and I continued the tradition with our kids, but we started to notice a curious thing–the kids were actually getting fatigued by the present opening process.  They got distracted because they wanted to PLAY with the presents they had already opened.  They didn’t want to open more presents.

We tried opening some on Christmas and then some the next day, but that never worked out well.

So this year, we tried something new–opening one present a day through the 12 days of Christmas until the Epiphany.

How This Worked

On Christmas day, our kids opened their only present from Santa, the present from their godparents, and one present for my mom.

(I should add that my husband and I don’t buy a ton of stuff for our kids on Christmas.  They are incredibly blessed to also get presents from my mom, my husband’s parents, and their godparents.)

Then, they each open one other present per day.

That means they opened three presents on December 25th, and one present a day until January 6th.

How We Set It Up

I tried to organize this while we were wrapping so the kids would open similar presents each day.  For instance, all three of them got backpacks, which the girls, especially, have really wanted.  These were opened by all three kids on day 12, the last day.  That way they were all surprised by the backpacks instead of one kid opening a backpack on the fifth day and another opening it on the eighth day and not being very surprised.

On the labels that says “to” and “from” I also wrote a number that corresponded to the assigned day to open those presents.

In the beginning, one day one present would be from me and my husband, the next day might be from my mom, the third day was from my husband’s family, then the fourth day was a present from us.

What The Kids Thought of This Experiment

We told the kids we would be doing this a few days before Christmas so they were prepared.  Initially, they were disappointed.  (Of course!)

However, I asked them again this past weekend what they thought of it now that we had opened all of the presents.  The girls both loved it and wanted to do it next year, too.  PB & J Girl said, “Now I don’t have to cry that Christmas is over because it’s like Christmas every day until all the presents are opened!”  Cuddle Bug said she enjoyed having time to play with her presents before getting new ones.

Bookworm had mixed feelings.  He likes the enjoyment of opening all of the presents on one day.  But he did say doing it this way gave him ample time to enjoy each present before moving on to the next one.

What We Thought about This Experiment

My husband and I both thought this was the way to go.  We both loved that the kids got to enjoy playing with their presents.  On Christmas Day, Bookworm got a race car set and a new scooter.  He had time to play with both quite a bit during the day.  Two days later he received a book, which he got to dive into and enjoy that day, rather than being distracted by other presents.

In addition, by opening a present a day, the kids are focused also on the story behind Christmas.  They know the Epiphany is when the Wise Men finally reached Jesus.  We celebrate Christmas from Christmas Day through the Epiphany.

This will be a tradition we’ll continue next year.

Would you consider doing something like this?  Would your children enjoy it?

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