Isn't this what you hope for? 
A smile, a gift willingly given, and gratitude when it's opened.

We found that our children too often got the "gimmies" (Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie...)--
Tear one present open, toss it behind them, and reach to see what's next.  Some presents never got played with or appreciated, relegated to the side of the room forever, in favor of something more exciting.  To help eliminate that, we started a Christmas tradition a few years ago.   

There's no rule on when they're allowed to get up- but present-opening won't start until 8 a.m.  Stockings, and only stockings,  are free game before that.  Each of the kids gets a box of cereal as part of their stocking (set to the side, no, they don't fit inside!), so that pretty much takes care of breakfast.  (If you'd like fresh cinnamon rolls, see the Refrigerator Rolls post.)  Right before opening presents, we read the Christmas story in Luke Chapter 2, and have our usual family song and prayer for the day.
We take turns opening one present each hour, on the hour- only one package opened at a time, going from youngest to oldest, each person choosing what to open.  We also open 1-2 family gifts, depending on how many are under the tree.  We spend the next hour looking at, playing with, or reading whatever our gift was, or the kids play together with something.  We meet under the Christmas tree an hour later, to do this again. 

This has really helped our children notice and appreciate each gift better. 

Since we have a large family, all the kids buy or make small gifts for each other, and grandparents give gifts, everyone actually has about ten presents.  Rather than taking ten hours to open, though, we open the rest of them at about hour #5.  

I recently read someone's else's method; they have each person gather the gifts they are GIVING, and distribute those themselves.  The point of this is to focus on the giving, more than the receiving.  This year we'll combine the two ideas, letting one person each hour give out all their gifts.  (After-Christmas- update:  I LOVED doing this, and the kids were really excited to give their gifts out in one round .  Next year I'll let the teenagers give last, though, so they  end on a grateful/happy note.  I made the mistake of having them ) 

And this year, with Christmas on Sunday, our kids voted to have just the filled stockings for Christmas morning, and "Christmas" on Monday.  They want this because there are household rules on the types of play on the Sabbath (i.e., no bike riding, rollerblading, or trampoline jumping!), and they figure they can FULLY enjoy whatever they're getting if there are fewer limitations.  I'm voting for this because then we can hopefully focus more on Christ that day, including watching the video links, below.

May you have a Merry Christmas, filled with happiness, peace, appreciation, and love for your family and our Savior.

For some beautiful, newly-released Bible videos on the original Christmas, from The Annunciation to The Wise Men and in between, see here.



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