Tips to make Christmas morning run smoothly(26 Posts)
I thought I would start this so we can all share tips to make things run a little smoother on Christmas morning.
My tip would be for each adult to be armed with a pair of scissors and a star screwdriver. Have a supply of good supply of batteries out (AA and AAA).
Every single toy these days appears to have a huge amount of tags and ties holding it on the packaging so scissors are needed a lot. Screwdrivers are needed to put in batteries but I have encountered packaging where the toy (usually toy cars) has been attached with small screws rather than plastic ties. (Why o why do they do this?)
Does anyone have any tips they would like to share.
Have a bag/box/something ready to receive the used wrapping paper ready to go out to the recycling.
If you have presents from people who aren't going to be there at opening time, have a notebook handy to jot down who gave what to who, so you don't think "Ah shit, which of these did Aunty Mavis give DC2?!" when thanking them.
Get as much food prep done as possible the day before, sprouts peeled, potatoes par boiled etc.
Any large toys that need assembling (thinking of last year's Ikea kitchen) done well in advance and hidden in garage ready to bring in once DC have gone to bed on Christmas Eve.
Giant gift bag to put the used wrapping paper in.
Disposable trays for cooking and all prep done ahead of time.
Canapes instead of a starter on disposable Christmas plates. Only leaves a dinner plate and bowl to wash after dinner!
Stay in bed as long as possible by providing chocolate in stockings
Have Christmas dinner at someone else's house then you have no major cooking tasks to worry about. And plan a minimum fuss breakfast so the time is taken up with eating together rather than cooking and cleaning.
Fully assemble and have all toys in full working order the night before.
If you won't be staying home all day, don't bother with wrapping paper for Santa gifts. That way it's a tonne of excitement for about 15 minutes in the morning and the next few hours are more chilled out play time. Then the kids are ready to leave the house after a few hours as they've had time to play with their toys, especially if they only got Santa/parent gifts in the morning and will be getting more gifts from the relatives they will be visiting.
If you want to take a video of Christmas morning, set your webcam up as a video recorder. That way you can just put your laptop down in a spot where it can 'see' everything and you can fully participate in the fun instead of standing about with your phone in your hand.
Big bag for paper, notebook for recording gifts, plenty of batteries. No getting up early and tearing into presents which results in over excited and over tired little ones.
Tin foil trays all the way. Have potatoes peeled and steeping overnight.
Have stuffing made abd in the freezer
I find a nice glass of Buck's Fizz helps...
Apart from that - of they're big toys assemble the night before, always have extra batteries and bin bags for the paper / rubbish. Keep on top of the wrapping paper mess or small bits get lost.
If you go to church I've found it easier to actually go Christmas Eve night while dcs are small instead of Christmas Day which is just way too busy and stressful.
My kids are older now at 14 12 & 8 so i have less to buy and do. Lie in Christmas morning as most is prepped night before. Prosecco also helps.
Everything prepped day before - turkey breast joint marinating, all veg peeled and parboiled, spiced cabbage in the slow cooker.
Veg root mash and yorkie puds pre made and frozen in advance, stuffing and pigs in blankets assembled.
Christmas dinner is just putting things in and out of the oven.
Table laid for Christmas dinner the night before - breakfast eaten in the living room.
If you have multiple dc, do piles around the room rather than all in front/under the tree. They then have their own space to open their gifts without younger sibling/excited sibling throwing things at them from across the room.
I take off 99% of those stupid wires and tags before I wrap. Just leave one to keep the toy escaping the box. Makes it so much easier on Christmas morning.
If wrapping close to Christmas Day I also put the batteries in before wrapping (if you can get access).
Well yes, obviously batteries I, things charged, and assembled where necessary. Friends told us that.
Ours had their stockings on Christmas morning, big presents after church. They used to come into us from about 6ish. I was always up at 6.30 to start prepping. Tea and bics Christmas morning, church 9.30, home by 11, smoked sslmon and champagne and presents. Lunch 3ish. ILs used to take DC to park after presents and before lunch. After lunch we move onto DS's birthday!
Get rid of packaging, do any assembly and put batteries in before you wrap
This means it can be played with straight away, no frustration, and if you buy something second hand it's not obvious because nothing else is all tied up in a box
Oh yes, untag everything before you wrap it and also put in batteries. Have a pair of scissors handy in case there is a tag you've missed.
Wrapping paper gets searched in case there is something we have missed, then rolled up and binned immediately. I have a box from work from years ago that contained photocopy paper, it is open at the top and covered in wrapping paper around the sides so it looks like a present. Wrapping paper is tossed into that and when you look back at photos there is no black binbag looming at you among the lights and tinsel like a turd in a Perrier factory
I always buy spare batteries in October/November so there are plenty over the Christmas period. When you buy a toy, double check what batteries they take and then buy some extra from the shop there and then/take a photo with your phone for future reference. We have a draw in our hall with a special box just for batteries (an old butter tub with the Duracell Bunny sellotaped on!) so they are always easy to find.
About food: we put back Christmas lunch to early evening 6/7pm. No more faffing in the morning and stepping out of the shower as in-laws arrive.
Me and DD will probably be going to Ex MILs for lunch, and my Mother will want to call with DDs presents during the morning. PIL used to call as well but it all got too hectic so I stopped that on the basis that they'll see her at lunchtime and all afternoon.
Minimise guests and push lunch back until at least 2pm is my tip, otherwise it's a hectic round of making cups of tea and you miss out on the present opening in the rush.
Yes I've found untagging everything helps a lot....DS had a lot of Imaginext and it was terrible for all the tags.
The rest for me is just go with the flow and copious amounts of Bucks Fizz...I've always had Christmas in my own home and never really had to cater for more than 3/4...so I find it easy to be casual.
Just keep it simple!
Buy long rolls of wrapping paper in November before it sells out. Make sure you know where the sellotape, scissors and stockings are a few days in advance.
Have older kids so less of those awful tie tags in children's toys. That's my top tip. A phone is such a dream to wrap as well. And it keeps your teenage child occupied all day. WinWin. There's also a possibility older children will not wake for the day at 4am/6am, and there's a stronger possibility that they won't insist in jumping on you at 4.05am. This is not guaranteed, however. Our kids open their stockings when they wake up, which can occupy them for a good half hour, but remember not to buy any noisy toys for the stocking if you want any chance of sleep between 4-7am.
We have two rubbish boxes with present opening - one for paper for recycling and one for rubbish (like the bloody toy ties).
Write a cooking timetable before hand, starting with "eat at x pm" and working back through "remove turkey from oven x mins before carving".
It doesn't matter if you forget part of the meal. No bread sauce? No stuffing? Forgot to wrap bacon around chipolatas? Just say nothing and smile happily at the lovely roast potatoes. Do not over apologise at the table!
I have a shoebox, wrapped but separate (so looks like a present but I can open it up easily), with a screwdriver, scissors, spare batteries, spare bulbs for tree lights etc - under the tree. Its for the whole season but can be extra useful Christmas morning/afternoon.
I also bring in a black bag for discarded paper and wrappings, and a paper bag for discarded paper that will be reused (to fold that paper into neatly).
I tend to leave things for breakfast organized - like rashers not buried at the bottom of the drawer and the roll of croissants to bake towards the front of the fridge or even in the door. I don't set the table or leave everything out - but I do try and have the makings of a first coffee on the worktop ready to just boil the kettle.
There is also a good amount of fruit and sweets in DD's stocking, so she launches herself into that and is not immediately demanding food from us!
We also get our clothes out for the day the night before - to save rushing too much when going out to mass. DD has a bath on Christmas Eve, and I sometimes have my shower and do my hair then, sometimes on Christmas morning.
We do a lot of the dinner prep the day before, DH and I work around each other in the kitchen and quite enjoy it. peel veg and potatoes, make stuffing, make turkey stock for gravy etc. So we don't have to worry about that before we go out on the morning. We only need to cook when we get in from mass and other visits as we eat in the evening at home - or someone else cooks if we are travelling.
If we are home, I also have a few M&S party food packs - we generally have 1 or maybe 2 in the afternoon - they go in the oven, then turkey goes in the oven, we get other kitchen bits sorted and the fire lit, a drink is poured for everyone, lamps and music get turned on, nibbles are about ready and we take those to the sitting room to relax and open presents, popping back to the kitchen in between times to add other bits to the oven or turn on pots of veg. And I need a good few M&S nibbles the following day for DD's birthday - but there will be lots I can adapt if we are starving on Christmas afternoon and eat more than planned. (It's always savoury ones we use on 25th, a mix of savoury/sweet on 26th).
We have always only had the stocking/Santa in the morning - any presents under the tree get opened once we are home later and it is much more relaxed. Otherwise I would feel like we are rushing too much.
Normally, as the fire can't be lit on Christmas Eve, I clean it out and set it ready to light on 24th, and fill the logs basket etc, so all we need to do is strike a match when we get home on 25th afternoon. (We had it lit last time we were home 2 years ago, so needed to clean it out and set it on 25th - I don't mind so much, but I think I had a "firepac" (bag filled with coal that you just light the bag and have a 4 hour fire before needing more fuel) to just throw in once I'd cleaned it out rather than proper setting with firelighter, sticks, logs, coal.....I tend to keep a couple of firepacs and a good few "firelogs" (a wrapped peat log which gives a 2 hour fire) in the house at that time of year to make it easy on myself).
One other thing - even when we are travelling, and have a rented cottage (necessary for sanity between our 2 childhood homes!), it is just our nuclear family on Christmas morning. We get up, breakfast and head to mass, then go on to the other 2 houses over the course of the day - but don't entertain on Christmas morning. Lots over the rest of the visit - including DD's birthday gathering on 26th - but Christmas morning is just ourselves. (Both our sets of parents are not looking to come - they have a houseful themselves, and want breakfast and mass in either order, and know we'll be over the 1 straight after mass, and the other once the first turkey feast is consumed and cleared up).
Oh, another thing I plan in advance, although not so much for Christmas morning as for Christmas entertaining.
I make a fair amount of ice and put it into a large plastic tub, so the trays are free to make more. For when we have visitors over the season.
And as we tend to have some with drinks requiring the slice of lemon or lime, or some in jugs of water, but don't need much in the normal way of things, I tend to cut up a half a lemon or lime if I need the juice of the other half, or the whole thing if I actually have no slices and want a slice. The spare slices get frozen. They work very well straight from the freezer (and reduce the need for ice too!). It also means I can build up my stock of slices in a bag in the freezer, and just take them out when I am entertaining but it's an easier job than actually slicing them when already running around with entertaining.
I just buy a bag of ice from the supermarket for a pound!
I try and avoid faffing with steamy pots and pans, so spuds are parboiled, frozen in advance then roasted from frozen, veg is roasted or microwaved, Xmas pud is steamed in the slow cooker. It's just a roast dinner!
Wrap each DC's stocking gifts in their own paper to avoid arguments when the contents are tipped out. Or don't wrap them at all.
Set out a makeshift bar and instruct guests to hel themselves.
I am stealing BiddyPop's shoebox idea
I think the best thing I've learnt is try to be relaxed with your timings and don't try to fit too much in. The day should be relaxed and to allow people to have time to talk and play with gifts / presents etc without the anxiety of having a tight schedule to stick to.
Have DVD in the stocking.
So DVD can be watched for 90mins during morning whilst food is prepped / adults chill out. We do this whilst waiting for GPs to arrive.
I have teens now so their Christmas Presents tend now to the small but ££ types.
I bought gift boxes, tissue and ribbons last year to wrap them.
I buy one pattern/colour for each DC then I can keep track, no gift tags needed.
When they were little we did the Wrapping Paper Across the Door - to burst through but primarily to keep them out of the living room
And we set up a small fibre optic tree in the hall, on a timer switch. Once Father Christmas had visited, he switched on the tree to let the DC know they could get up.
I used to put a camp bed in DD room for DS on Christmas Eve Night so they woke up together and had their Stockings.
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