what to do with Christmas morning

This will be our first year “doing” Christmas morning. The last two years M was too young to know whether it was morning or a holiday or whatever. I didn’t put much thought into Christmas. Sure, she got presents, but I didn’t buy her any. She got plenty of gifts from other people.

The thing is, I’m not sure how I want to go about Christmas morning. Do I save all of her presents up, and have her wake up in the morning to find them all wrapped under the tree? Will she appreciate them if the focus is just on unwrapping a pile? I realize that there’s the “wow” factor, but what about afterward? She enjoys each present right now, and usually doesn’t want to do anything but play with the first one. Would it be more meaningful for her if she got something for several days in a row? Like a series of small gifts and then a large one under the tree Christmas morning?

And what about Santa? I’m not sure I want to give him all the credit for the presents. I mean, is it really that important to believe in an old man who brings you presents? I don’t know. I don’t remember thinking it was that amazing, but maybe I did. I just don’t really think it’s super awesome to idolize an old, fat guy and give him all the credit for the gifts I give.

Am I just way overthinking this?

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

9 thoughts on “what to do with Christmas morning”

  1. I’m not doing Santa. I would rather him learn to be grateful for the presents he gets from the people he knows. And to learn to make things for other people. We will make ornaments and/or cards this year. He knows who Santa is thanks to this Santa and the Three Bears book my mom got him last year. He loves it all but I’m not going to entertain the Santa myth. I’ve decided we will stay at my mom’s Christmas Eve. We will all have more fun together and I don’t want her to be alone. Then we will go to a relative’s house where we won’t be able to eat anything and he won’t know anyone.

  2. We do Santa, (and the tooth fairy and Easter bunny) but he brings 1-2 nice things, not the most “important” gifts, and family gifts are of course from family. It’s similar to how I was raised. We ultimately decided to go with it because we both enjoyed the game / mystery / semi-magical idea of it as children. My sister did not do Santa with her son, and she and I both feel he kind of lacked a little whimsy in his outlook… but that could totally just be him, yk?

    My son was calling BS on the whole enterprise from around age 3.5? I was always able to answer his questions with some element of logic, but he just side-eyed the whole thing until we confirmed it for him. My daughter was happy to play along until circumstances dictated some reality break through the silliness.

    Because we were raised, and are raising, our kids with Christianity, we focused on the real St. Nickolas as how Santa got his start, and why he does what he does. None of that explains why some kids get whatever they ask Santa for and other kids get nothing tho – it’s kind of a weirdly privileged idea to foist upon your kids, and it works or doesn’t based on your personal economic outlook? Not terribly fair. In fact, when we told them the truth, it was because we couldn’t afford diddly for Easter one year.

    Since you’re not bound by any religious ideas (that I know of) I have to say I really like the idea of giving one or two gifts per day for however many days. We hate the tear into the paper madness – my poor kids can’t open one thing unless / until we’re all awake, fairly decent with regards to clothing, coffee in hand, camera at the ready, and then we take turns and take time to explore and enjoy each gift a bit before the next one. Sometimes we stop for breakfast. šŸ™‚

    (My, how I do go on… Sorry!)

  3. I guess after all that, I should clarify that we’re still doing all that with our youngest daughter. I think she’ll enjoy it, but I think she’ll call it off much sooner than the older two found out. She’s just too smart.

  4. I don’t want to let Santa take credit for all the gifts. Growing up Santa was just Christmas magic and without intention I think that is how Carter is interpreting him. He gets excited when he sees a santa hat, he loves christmas books, he LOVES christmas music.
    I haven’t really figured things out but I don’t plan to say anything is from santa. It’s easy at this point when he has asked for two things for christmas and I’m happy to get them for him. I think it may get harder depending on how other families handle things and if he sees other kids getting really big/fancy presents from “Santa”.
    We are just going to play it by ear I guess.

  5. I don’t really talk about Santa and don’t plan for “Santa” to do more than stuff her stocking. All other gifts will come from me, my parents, friends, etc….I am only getting Evelyn one big gift, a couple books, Christmas jammies and her stocking stuffers. christmas around here won’t ever be a big greed-fest.

  6. At a grandmotherly age I have come to understand that what helps children flourish is AWE- true awe- and WONDER however you bring that as a gift to your children. There ARE 12 days of Christmas after all, why not use them and stretch the celebrating as long as you can. It could be a good antidote to “having it all NOW” that is so prevalent in this era. Bringing reverence and mystery in the deeps of our inward travel into winter – however it is done! – nourishes children- AND adults, but we need to do that for ourselves. Bless the children.

  7. My parents used to do one big gift from Santa. I think a little magic is good in a child’s life. I can’t remember if your daughter is Mexican one Puerto Rican, but my Puerto Rican friend celebrates Three Kings Day and stuff like that. That may be a way of stretching it out.

  8. My family didn’t “do” the Santa thing. He was just a cute story to go along with the other cute stories told around Christmas (Rudolph, Frosty, baby jesus, etc.) Presents were given to us by family and friends because they loved us and it was a fun way to celebrate time together. We are a non-religious family so christmas was more of a “winter celebration with the people we love and GREAT food” not religious or magical etc.

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