A Smooth Christmas Morning

Snowy scene. Christmas morning can be filled with joy, festivity… and chaos! Here are some tricks to help things run smoothly.
Jim Kershaw Photography

Christmas morning can be filled with joy, festivity… and chaos! Here are some tricks to help things run smoothly.

Jump Start Breakfast. . .

  • Prepare food the night before (e.g. an overnight casserole, coffee cake, cut up fruit…)
  • Set up the coffee so you can get it brewing quickly
  • Set out paper products for a quick clean-up

Get Ready for Christmas Dinner. . .

  • Chop and pre-measure ingredients
  • Set the table (linens, place settings, serving bowls, utensils, and candles/centerpieces)
  • Install extra table leaves and gather extra chairs/high chairs, as needed
  • Delegate last minute tasks in advance (e.g. pouring wine, lighting candles, tossing the salad, etc.)

Set the Scene Around the Tree. . .

  • Have a playlist or station ready to go for background music
  • If applicable, set up the fireplace so all you need to do is light a match
  • Place helpful supplies nearby (e.g. trash bags, scissors, recycle/reuse bins, batteries, small screwdrivers)
  • Provide paper and pencils for those who wish to record gifts received
  • Consider assembling complicated gifts ahead of time so they are ready to be played with

Alleviate the Anticipation. . .

  • Agree in advance what time the “festivities” will begin
  • Consider allowing small children to open one gift on Christmas Eve
  • Hang a stocking with a small distraction (e.g. a puzzle, book, bag of cheerios) on the doorknob of each child’s bedroom to keep them busy while waiting

Prepare to Photograph. . .

  • Charge all cameras/camcorders/phones in advance
  • Have extra memory sticks ready to go
  • Set up a tripod, if desired
  • Decide if, when, and where a group photo will be taken
  • Consider designating one person to collect, upload and share photos (e.g. via an app or photo book)

Calm the Chaos. . .

  • Open gifts one at a time, from youngest to oldest
  • Designate a location for gift cards, checks, and small items so they don’t get accidentally thrown away
  • Keep all candy up off the floor, out of the reach of pets
  • Move stockings away from a lit fireplace so the contents won’t melt
  • Check the inside of all boxes and bags before trashing/recycling them

*     *     *     *     *

Merry Christmas to all… and to all a peaceful day!

38 thoughts on “A Smooth Christmas Morning”

    1. I can imagine the fun scene that will be unfolding at your house on Christmas morning. May you, your husband, and the princesses have a wonderful day indeed!

    1. I typically put the “money” items upon the mantle… and right away. They can disappear into a pile of paper in no time, right? I can imagine a fun scene over at your house on Friday morning – wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas, Nina!

  1. I always had a little basket — the gift tags for items that would require a thank you note went into it, with a reminder jotted on the back of what the item was. Gift cards could go in there too.

    1. Feliz Navidad, Nacho! Thank you for commenting and sharing YOUR wisdom all year long. I hope you and your family enjoy a beautiful holiday and joyful launch into 2016!

    1. I find most accidents take place when we are out of our regular routine, and I’m afraid I’ve learned the hard way on both the pets and the melted stocking candy!

    1. I love the idea of gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa gifts on Christmas morning. Makes a lot of sense. It is so interesting to hear about everyone’s traditions. I never had the luck of waiting for my children — my oldest, especially, was up in the dark. Have a wonderful, blessed, and peaceful Christmas, Autumn. Sending much love:)

  2. Love these tips — especially the Christmas morning breakfast routine. It’s SO helpful to have something prepped in advance when the little ones are excitedly digging through gifts!

    1. Totally agree, Blair. Christmas has plenty of activity to keep a Mom occupied1 The last thing kids want is Mom working away in the kitchen while they are waiting to open gifts:)

  3. Seana, you offer wonderful and timeless tips here. I love the idea of hanging a small stocking on each child’s door knob and having a dedicated place to hold gift cards, cash, and checks. There were a couple of frantic Christmas days when we had to go looking back through the recycling for the misplaced (accidentally thrown out) item.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. I look forward to reading and commenting on more marvelous posts from you in 2021

    1. I’ve definitely had the “looking through the trash” moment, and it isn’t a good feeling. Now we put gift cards up on the mantle. It isn’t hard, but handy to think of ahead of time. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Diane!

  4. We don’t celebrate Christmas, but I can am in awe of the various organizing details that go into creating a Christmas morning that runs smoothly. I can imagine all of the excitement, wonderful scents, glittering surfaces, and warmth that comes from having your loved ones together on this special day. I know it will be very different for families this year as many stay in place to keep people safe. Gatherings will be smaller or perhaps virtual. But I know they will be special. And your list will help people not just this season but for many seasons to come. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

    1. I think the same attention to detail is helpful for all large celebrations, especially when little ones will be opening gifts. It is easy to lose track of things when multiple people are around doing simultaneous things, right? Hope you had a wonderful Hanukah celebration and will get to enjoy some downtime, especially looking at our pretty snowfall:)

  5. These are all great ideas. If followed it will be a smooth Christmas. We usually have a pretty calm day and when gathering with family we always share the meal preparation so it make it easy. I love a good Christmas breakfast casserole!

    1. Inevitably the “nice” cameras are out of battery when the moment arises. Phones are definitely easier because we are more mindful about making sure they are charged. Wishing you a very, merry Christmas Sabrina!

  6. Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I’ve seen a LOT of Christmas movies, and I always imagine that the real thing is quite a bit more hectic. You’ve mapped out the perfect way to have a peaceful holiday morning while keeping the joy in the day!

    1. Christmas morning, especially if you happen to have a bunch of little ones, can be chaotic. Typically, it is Mom who ends up having to hunt through the trash for missing gifts, while also feeding everyone and cleaning up the mess. A bit of advance prep can make all the difference, as with so many other aspects of life!

    1. Yes, this is good for any big event where people gather, special food is served, and gifts are exchanged! I’ll be home this year, just like the majority of people. Doing my part to avoid the spread of infection. But, I have a warm house and a pretty, snowy scene out my window, so it’s all good. Hope you get a chance to relax and see some loved ones, Ronni!

    1. Yes, for many this year is a bit earlier. Others have more people around who have been quarantining and learning from home. Whatever your situation is, I wish you a wonderful Christmas and restful holiday!

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