Christmas Planning Guide: The Practical Stuff

A couple of years back we had a major Christmas fail. MAJOR! The star gift… the gift that Big M had been requesting for months… the trash truck with the arm that carried the trash can up over the truck and actually dumped… didn’t work.

We didn’t realize it was broken of course, not until we were setting everything up Christmas Eve. Late Christmas Eve at that. We had no other option than to get creative. A quick note from the big guy was all we could do. “Yikes! Had too much fun with your new trash truck and I seem to have broken it. I will swap it out for a working one as soon as I can. I’m very sorry. Santa.”

Luckily Big M is one understanding kid and he wasn’t too upset. We made the sneaky switch a couple of days later. Every year since then Big M makes sure to leave a note asking that Santa not play with his toys…

Hmmm… the worst part is that entire mess could have been avoided if only I had stuck some batteries in and tested it out ahead of time.

Today I’ve teamed up with Duracell and Toys“R”Us to help make sure you are completely ready for Christmas morning. A broken last minute surprise will not happen to us again!

Love this guide! So many things I didn't think of that will make Christmas morning easier.

Christmas Planning Guide: The Practical Stuff

The month before:

Think about what the perfect Christmas looks like to you and make sure you plan for that.

  • Make a list of everyone who you plan to buy for and jot down gift ideas as they come to you.
  • Make a budget. Include everyone (especially your kids) and don’t spend more then the amount you’ve decided on. Visit Toys“R”Us and find out the prices for all of your must have items to help keep your budget realistic.
  • Plan for downtime. We have a strict “nothing until after 12pm on Christmas day” rule. That means every Christmas we get at least a few hours of relax and enjoy time before rushing to get ready. Christmas Eve and Christmas afternoon are for everyone else. Christmas morning is ours.
  • Take all the help you can get. Enter giveaways (like the one below 😉 ). And keep an eye out for coupons like these:

                On November 22, look for a $3 OFF coupon when you buy any 2 packages of Duracell batteries
               (AA/AAA 16pk, D/C 4pk, 9V 2pk or larger, Quantum AA/AAA 6pk, D/C 3pk or larger). You’ll find
                this coupon in most Sunday newspapers.

                On December 13, look for a $1 OFF coupon when you buy one package of Duracell Coppertop and
                Quantum. This coupon will be available in most Sunday newspapers.

The week before:

Do a dry run. Set everything out and really examine what else needs to be done or added.

  • What can be put together before Christmas eve?
  • Which presents can be taken out of the packaging ahead of time?
  • How many batteries do you need? What size batteries and can they be put in now?
  • What needs to be tested. (Make sure EVERYTHING works!)
  • Fill the stockings. Do you need any last minute stocking stuffer ideas to finish them up?
  • Check camera and phone memory. Do you need to make room?

The night before:

Christmas Eve is always busy. Doing these few extras will be worth it though.

  • Charge the camera, video camera and cell phones.
  • Put together a Christmas morning basket. Fill it with everything you could possibly need. Screwdriver, scissors, trash bag, extra batteries, the cameras, etc.
  • Prep the coffee so all you have to do is turn it on.
  • Go to bed as early as possible. No doubt you’ll be up early and getting enough sleep will make this very eventful day much more fun.

The morning of:

  • Turn on Christmas music.
  • Take pictures.
  • Play.
  • Relax. This is the fun part. The kids are busy with new toys. You have some time to just be. Enjoy it.

Such a cool idea! These Light Sabers are from a Blade Builders collection. Not only do they light up and make sounds they also connect to other light sabers!

Check out the large assortment of Star Wars toys on Amazon like the Luke Skywalker Light Saber! Power up your new Light Saber and see the brightly glowing blade’s light effects! Swing and slice your toy through the air and you’ll hear motion sensor-controlled sound effects like clashing, battle impact and crackling sounds. But in order to “power up” – you need Duracell batteries!

PS – The kids love that these Light Saber are a part of the Blade Builders collection. They can connect to each other and form many different types of fun Light Sabers.

GIVEAWAY! (This Giveaway has ended)

What could be a better way to prepare for Christmas than a fun giveaway including a $100 Toys“R”Us gift card and 2 packs of Duracell batteries?

  • Enter by leaving a comment sharing your best tip for being prepared for Christmas morning.
  • One entry per person.
  • US residents only.
  • Giveaway ends Wednesday 11/25.
  • Winner will chosen using and will be contacted within 48 hours.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Duracell & Toys “R” Us. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. We open the toys we know they’ll want to play with right away, take the twist ties off, cut the plastic off and make sure batteries are installed. So there is no crying meltdown as they wait to play with their new toy!

    1. My kids are bigger now, but Christmas is still very busy. We have a little candlelight tradition Christmas Eve, so everything has to be ready before that. The candles and reading the Christmas Story really get my thoughts into perspective.

  2. I always make checklists of everyone I need to shop for during the holidays. As I purchase gifts, I check the person off and write a short note beside his/her name to indicate what I purchased and so I don’t mix up gifts. I then have everything ready to go and ready to wrap and put under the tree as soon as the kiddos go to bed.

    1. I do something similar to keep organized. I have a holiday notebook where I write down each person that I give to & what I gift them. Then I can look back from year to year to make sure that I don’t duplicate anything.

  3. Brew some coffee, relax and enjoy the excitement. If you didn’t already think of it, stressing over it does no good.

  4. I always make breakfast the night before (cinnamon twists, eggs and hash browns in the crockpot). It always helps to not have to worry about making breakfast while we are opening presents. I also make a list of everyone who we are purchasing gifts for. It helps so I don’t over purchase.

  5. We try to go ahead and put toys together that need assembling and sticker placement a few days before Christmas so that on Christmas morning the kids just get to play and we aren’t having to assemble multiple toys.

    And, of course…prep the coffee.

  6. Thank you for all these great posts! As a mom of 3, and a teacher and a high school soccer coach, I know how crazy it is to be a busy mom and manage all the schedules and such! I enjoy your tips and try hard to keep my family my main focus!
    Christmas Tip: DO charge those cameras/phones the night before – put them in a central spot all together to find quickly and easily Christmas morning. We make our munchkins wait to come down until we have switched on the coffee pot and grabbed the camera to record them as they all charge down the stairs to see what Santa brought! Kids love going back each year to see what Christmas jammies they had on, who ran down first/fastest, and their expressions as they first saw what filled the room under the tree!

  7. Have some snacks ready, so you aren’t cooking breakfast while everyone is opening gifts. Also, designate one person as the paper police. When a gift is opened, the paper wad gets thrown their way.

  8. Make sure to prep breakfast ahead of time – maybe have the kids pick a recipe that can be put in the crockpot overnight or make an egg casserole or even a cinnamon roll casserole that can just be popped in the oven,

    Kids need to eat – even on Christmas morning – so why not start with a special breakfast. We let our kids open their stockings and then we sit down and eat a nice breakfast with our Christmas china and christmas music and lots of yummy food and then the kids play with their stocking stuff quickly while i do a quick clean up and then we sit down and open gifts – everyone is fed and feeling good.

  9. I try to have most if not all of my shopping done by Thanksgiving, that way I can make sure we have everything we need for the presents so they all work. This also gives me enough time to switch out presents if we find they are not working or if there is a safety concern that we didn’t see while it was in the packaging.

  10. When I buy a gift. I write down what I got for the person and then I wrap it and put a tag on right away. Keeps the peekers out and saves a lot of time.

  11. I am a planner and organizer with a terrible memory. So, I always keep a running list of what Santa will be leaving, and check it off as “he” puts it out. And with stocking stuffers, I always put them in individual bags a few days before, then just put in each stocking accordingly, and to make sure my son don’t get the sparkle lip gloss. And because I am borderline OCD, all three kiddos must have the same number of gifts. I literally have to make lists and check them twice, and sometimes three and four times 🙂

  12. When looking for specific items I call the store to make sure it’s in stock(sometimes they can hold item) before I make the trip. Saves me a lot of time.

    1. Oops I just took notice to prepare for morning of. I prepare a breakfast casserole/quiche the day/night before so I can pop in the oven Christmas morning. Breakfast is ready after they open their gifts.

  13. We do Christmas like Fantasy Football Drafts. We pull our order before the gift opening. Sometimes we trade picks so that we can save a good gift for later. We then use that order–in reverse–for seating preference for Christmas Breakfast.

  14. I love this! I like to prepare meals for Christmas the night before so we can wake up feeling relaxed. There are so many fun breakfast recipe ideas out there to make ahead of time.

    Good luck!

  15. I’d suggest making a French toast casserole or egg strata – something that can be made ahead and baked off Christmas morning.

  16. I have an 8 year old who is on the cusp of getting Santa’s magic. I always choose different Santa wrap and hide it well. I make a list that year of what was Santa paper so I do not forget the next year and use it again. I swear my kids remember everything!

  17. Keep wrapping supplies organized in one place. Buy replacements on sale after Christmas and put away for next year.

  18. K.I.S.S. – Keep i t simple silly so everyone isn’t overwhelmed and you aren’t stressed. Remember the real reason for the season, have fun, and give thanks.

  19. In a home with dogs or cats, swap out Santa’s cookies for some pet treats and let the animals partake in some of the festivities by leaving crumbs that appear to be “left by Santa” 🙂

  20. I wrap each present with different wrapping paper that goes to that person. Christmas morning, they find a piece of that wrapping paper in their stockings that belongs to that person and they will know what presents are theirs under the tree. The excitement begins. That way I don’t have to dig under the tree and find all what belongs to who. I get to relax more and enjoy the smiles on the faces.

  21. I like to buy gifts ahead of time and I will hide them and then I forget where I put them! So make a list and the gifts and where you put them. Just don’t misplace your list! Just the other day I found a gift I bought 3 years ago!!!!

  22. My husband is a minister so Christmas Eve is a big night, so we don’t travel to see family until Christmas Day. If you’re going out of town, like we do every year, give the kids gifts from Santa that are easy to pack up so they can take some of their gifts along for the ride. It makes for a much more peaceful ride to grandma’s house.

  23. The week before – Make sure to have all the presents wrapped. You don’t want to spend your time on Christmas Eve wrapping. Do a little each night after the kids go to sleep.

    Christmas Eve – don’t forget the cookies and the milk, and oats and carrots for the reindeer! We also leave a goodbye/ thank you note from our Elf on the shelf.

    On Christmas Eve’s Eve (since Christmas Eve has turned into a family event as well and we don’t get home until the kids are in bed!), we open a family gift with pj’s for Christmas Eve, a Christmas movie and snacks to cozy up on the couch!

  24. Make sure you have a simple breakfast planned, and feed the kids close to their regular time–to avoid the grumpies. Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. This may be for novices but remember to break down and trash the packaging. At least hide it if you think you’ll need it for returns. One year, in our haste to finish at the wee hours of Christmas morning, my husband left boxes at the back door and my daughter exclaimed “Santa’s pretty sloppy!”

  26. Definitely charge camera and phone batteries. Try to have presents wrapped in the week leading up to Christmas and organize items for stocking in bags until Christmas Eve. That way, I just have to open each person’s bag and fill their stocking quickly and easily.

  27. We keep a Christmas morning basket handy near the tree. It holds extra batteries and scissors for quick access when opening all those presents!

  28. Plan an easy make ahead breakfast. Our favorite is classic bacon egg bake. Prep the night before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning.

  29. Start wrapping early (not Christmas Eve)! Although it can be fun to stay up late with your sig other wrapping and sharing a drink – it’s much nicer to have a bit of sleep before the kids wake you up early on Christmas Day!

  30. pre make a breakfast casserole a few nights before and freeze or refridgerate so you dont have to cook on Christmas Morning. just pop it in the oven.

  31. I definitely live by my checklists – from gifts to buy to checklists for each day surrounding the holidays. What to do, make, bring etc. it helps get it out of my head so I won’t forget!

  32. My favorite tip is to have my Mom (the grandma) take the kiddos on a Christmas Holiday Lights Tour on Dec. 23rd every year. They go to dinner, pack hot chocolate in a thermos, put on the Christmas station in the car and go see all the lights at our local Christmas Card Lane. It gives us about 4 hours of evening time to work on wrapping, stockings, etc. Some years it also allows me time to bake.

  33. I always make sure presents are wrapped and hidden away to put out on Christmas Eve. We make sure to put out a snack for Santa and even leave something outside for his reindeer!

  34. start early take your time and do what you can and dont stress about it being together and celebrating christ is what this holiday is about

  35. To prepare for Christmas. I keep the stocking stuffers out in the garage(except for candy) – I separate into boxes by people…this way I’m prepared for Christmas Eve stuffing of the stockings.

  36. I always make a coffee cake the day before so breakfast is all ready to go in the morning. Everyone gets an orange in their stocking, too, so that can be their fruit for breakfast.

  37. I’m a fan of the “go to bed early” rule. I’ve always had a rule that kids cannot wake up parents before 8 am on Christmas morning, too. Makes the present-opening less hectic. 😉

  38. To make decorating go faster so I have more time with the grandkids, I take pictures each year of my decorations – I do a lot and I change it up a bit each year – then I print those pics out and paste together according to the rooms they go in – makes decorating go much faster if you know where it goes, and you can get help if they have the pics as a guide – great for grandmothers who still like to decorate a lot!! I store it all in big plastic tubs in the garage. I also carry my gifts to two different daughters house’s on Christmas day, so I separate out each families gifts in two separate sections of the house so I don’t have to look through all of them when ready to leave. I use gift sacks with handles and then put several of them into bigger plastic store bags that I save all year which makes it easier to get them all to the car without dropping them. Also, a fun thing my daughters do is to set up a scavenger hunt for their kids big present. They get all the clues in place the night before and the kids love going from room to room for the next clue leading to the big gift. Also, buy one of these gadgets that easily snip those plastic ties – better than scissors. And last, I buy extra camera batteries so I have enough charged to last the whole day!!!

  39. I make a breakfast casserole the night before. I put it in the oven on low while we open gifts and when we are finished, we all get to enjoy a delishish hot breakfast with little cleanup!

  40. Plan your dinner menu ahead, try to make some food ahead of time. And don’t be shy to ask family to bring something!

  41. We have a big family get together Christmas Eve. We travel Christmas morning and they choose the opened gifts they want to enjoy in the car the night before.

  42. Hubby and I always take a day off together while the kids are in school to finish whatever shopping hasn’t been done online; great date day to get us both into the spirit! Santa gifts are wrapped in Santa wrapping paper; all done a little at a time after the kids are in bed, and kept hidden until we put them under the tree on Christmas Eve.

  43. I always do a breakfast and lunch prep for Christmas day. I start cocoa in the crock pot for the kids the night before so they get a special treat first thing before presents. They get the rest of the day to play while I clean up before dinner.

  44. First off, start a Christmas Club and put aside a little bit of money from every paycheck; make a list of all the people you need to buy for and keep track of what you buy them and how much you spend; don’t wait until Christmas Eve to wrap all the presents!

  45. Enjoy a hot toddy with my husband Christmas Eve and enjoy the fact that we’re enjoying the holiday together as a family!

  46. I’ve never really planned anything to get ready for Christmas. I do everything last minute. But this year I’m definitely taking the toys out of the packages and putting batteries in them before wrapping. It’s always more fun when you can play with the toys immediately after opening them.

  47. I keep a list of who we are shopping for, the budget, what we got them and the receipts all together in an envelope. This helps me stick to the budget, track what I got them (and remember for next year so there are no repeats) and receipts easy to find if there is a problem and a return needs to happen.

  48. What a great plan to put batteries in beforehand!! Why have I never thought of that? My kiddos are still quite young (3.5 yrs, 2 yrs, 9 months) so I’m still getting the hang of it! But our favorite thing to do in prep for the morning is eat all the cookies we set out for Santa with a note that says “thank you for the cookies!” Last year my son was very excited to leave a present and cookies for Santa. It’s fun to teach my boys that Christmas is also a time for giving back, not just getting. Thank you for all the tips!

  49. We always buy extra batteries of different sizes for those gifts that may come from others and didn’t have a battery in it. We go to the Christmas Eve service at church and then sleep a little later on Christmas morning.

  50. My top two tips for Christmas morning…
    1. Have coffee machine ready or on timer!
    2. If you live away from family & friends (as we do) make an agreement not to Skype or FaceTime first thing Christmas morning as I love having time to watch my daughter marvel at what Santa has left rather than answering the phone!

    Happy Christmas

  51. We get a breakfast snack ready to go the night before so that we can have an easy “something” for all of us to eat so mom and dad can enjoy the morning festivities without worrying about getting breakfast ready!

  52. If you’re baking cookies, mix them two days (or more) in advance–we freeze them pre-measured on baking sheet and place them in a freezer bag, pulling out just a few that night so Santa has fresh cookies to eat and Mommy gets to keep her sanity!

  53. We like to have a garbage bag ready for the wrapping paper, another bag to keep bows & tissue to reuse for another time or the next Christmas! That way the floor stays clutter free & we make a game out out of “shooting” the scrunched up paper into the bag! It’s all about fun!

  54. We build any toys that need assembly ahead of time and wrap them built so we aren’t assembling toys all day while the kids anxiously wait to play. Stock up on batteries and do our shopping on Black Friday/cyber Monday to get the best deals! We also will cash in our credit card points for gift cards that we use to buy gifts on Amazon.

  55. For us I remember that each kid gets their own wrapping paper. This is a new tradition for us, as Ava was an only child for 7 years. Now that we have 2 more little ones, we have chosen this new tradition. The way each of the kids will know which gifts are theirs is by doing the stockings first, the items wrapped in their stocking is the same wrapping for their gifts under the tree. Ava will be in charge again this year as the little ones ( 21 months and 9 months ) will not understand. This also makes her feel special “BIG SISTER IN CHARGE”. So we get prepared ahead of time, buy 3 different large rolls for wrapping paper and be sure that everything get’s wrapped. NO GIFT BAGS .

    Thanks for this giveaway!! This could really help this year!!!! Love you Jill!!! Your Awesome!

  56. I always like to have a breakfast casserole for the oven or crockpot ready to go. We have 5 kids so our morning is super busy. My husband is usually helping the kids put toys together. I would rather sit, play, & enjoy the time with my kids than cooking all morning for a family of 7. Happy holidays!

  57. I always start in July, thinking about gifts, theme, and have all the shopping and wrapping done by Thanksgiving. That way I can plan activities and meals/parties with little stress. The weather becomes a nonissue. While everyone around me is sighing and complaining because they have to go out in the weather and shop, have to wrap the night before Christmas, and are clearly not enjoying themselves, I’m relaxed and ready for Christmas morning; a menu, a plan, and lots of fun!

  58. I always prepare a make-ahead breakfast casserole the night before. On Christmas morning I pop it in the oven before we start opening gifts then by the time we’re finished we have a hot breakfast ready to enjoy together!

  59. Since the kids don’t have time for food when there’s new toys to be played with, I usually make a quick and easy breakfast like pancakes wrapped around ham and eggs. They are easy to eat and portable, plus the kids still get a nutritious breakfast.

  60. I wrap the gifts I want my kids to open at the same time in the same paper. This way I don’t have one opening a package of socks while another is getting a video game.

  61. I love this reminder for the batteries! We try to have all the presents ready a night or two before and have a simple breakfast of pumpkin pancakes that easy to make while the kids play!

  62. We have smoothies while we open presents and brunch after. I have everything ready to go in the blender jar the night before and store in the fridge next to an overnight casserole and overnight cinnamon rolls that bake while we open.

  63. What do I do to prepare for Christmas day? Cross my fingers and hope it all goes well!!! JK (sort of). I try to get things cooked ahead of time if I am responsible for anything at our big family dinner. Most importantly though, to set the mood, the night before my family and I like to have a quiet evening of cuddling on the couch in comfy pj’s watching a good movie.

  64. A christmas tradition…Christmas Morning Wifesaver pre-made for breakfast….while presents are being opened we have this cooking in the oven and have fun watching the kids and their presents!

  65. Refrigerated cinnamon rolls for breakfast! It’s a big treat for everyone, and so easy. “Immaculate” baking co. brand is my go to choice.

  66. I try to remember to have a trash bag out and ready so the crumpled, discarded gift wrap doesn’t completely take over and make it easy to lose small pieces to toys.

  67. Help Santa by preparing stocking stuffers a few days in advance (in a special spot) in case you need to fill in if you feel something is missing, plus you won’t be rattling around making noise on Christmas eve.

  68. I make a list for each child and place a S or an M for under the tree and a then a separate list for stockings. I make sure that I have stocked up on every kind of battery possible before Christmas morning and place some in each stocking because *wink wink* you never know when you are going to need them. Breakfast goes in the oven and we enjoy watching each other open their gifts.

  69. I like to prep breakfast the night before. I do have a question. We have tried to implement a stress free morning as well which includes no company in the morning–similar to your noon policy. We have met with resistance to that from certain family members. Have you ever had resistance and how did you handle it?

  70. I always try to make sure that we have enough tape, gift wrap and bows. We also make sure to hide the rest of the paper that we use for “Santas” gifts.

  71. We travel to Grandma’s house…so to avoid trying to hide presents in the car and damage to wrapped presents during the ride I order many presents online and mail them directly to Grandma’s house. When we arrive at Grandma’s I inspect everything, get it in working order and wrap them. Just remember to leave room in the car to get it all home;)

  72. We make a breakfast casserole ahead of time. We open presents while it is baking. Timewise everything works out perfectly. After we eat we can play in our pajamas and relax all day.

  73. My Christmas morning lifesaver is a crock pot recipe for Christmas morning breakfast casserole. Prepare it and turn it on before bed and when you wake up no need to worry about making breakfast

  74. This is one of the few times I’ve been glued to the comments on a giveaway. What great ideas here!
    My tip is to hide aspects of a bigger gift in with a smaller gift, to build suspense and add an element of play to unwrapping all the gifts. If the gift is a toy that needs batteries, have the child unwrap a sweater first, for example, with some batteries tucked inside. My parents were always creative in how they packaged gifts, or came up with some silly game I “had to” play while unwrapping the gifts. I can’t say I remember all of my specific gifts, but I remember nearly every game we played or clever trick they used to make the morning special!

  75. Curl your daughter’s hair in sponge rollers the night before so all you have to do is pull them down and shake them out! Also, let your children wear matching Christmas pajamas so you can remember each year. Finally, if you have sneaky children, stretch yellow caution tape across the top of the stairs so no one can sneak under to see what Santa brought!

  76. We typically travel and bring stockings and Santa gifts with us. I pack up each stocking, all ready to go as I buy stuff (also helps make sure you are filled up) and then put them in their own plastic bag, all tied up in case of peeking eyeys, and then can be packed easier and are ready to just pull out when it is time.

  77. Best Christmas morning advice…insist everyone takes turns opening one gift at a time…that way you can all enjoy and actually see what each person is opening…plus it’s easier to get great pictures!

  78. Make sure Christmas morning breakfast items are out of the freezer the night before and all are in the home before Christmas Eve.
    I also do a checklist with names and gift ideas, then check the ones when completed. Order and have packages wrapped and shipped directly to those living out of town.

  79. Our prep for Christmas morning is very similar to yours! We always set out cinnamon rolls or something that can easily be heated in the morning for a simple breakfast. I wrap gifts well in advance and put in the same boxes/tubs that my decorations are usually in. We definitely charge all cameras and help the kids get to bed by setting out milk/egg nog and cookies plenty early!

  80. I would say my best tip for being prepared for Christmas would be a designated wrapping station. Every year, when it’s time to start wrapping gifts, I have a certain space in the home (where the kids aren’t allowed to be!) where I set up my paper, scissors, tape, bows, tags, and pens/markers. As we purchase gifts, we store them in a secret place near the wrapping station, so when it’s actually time to wrap them, there’s no extra hauling around!

  81. I like “To-Do-Lists” on a daily basis throughout the year not just around the holidays. The day or night before I make out my list of activities I need to acccomplish for the next day on an index card. Then I cross off the item when it is accomplished. When all items are crossed off I throw away the card at the end of the day or put items not finished on the next day. See I try to take my life one day at a time so I do NOT get so overwhelmed by it all with everything that needs to get done as a mom and caregiver it is a must and a definite “self-care” esentail for me ALL year long.

  82. We make sure to get the video camera out before the kids come down to get their reactions which are always priceless. We also hide one big gift from mommy and daddy as the last gift to open.

  83. We plan the breakfast, and Christmas dinner two weeks in advance, so that we make sure that we get all that is needed for the meals.

  84. Make sure the charged camera with an empty memory card is next to the tree so you can capture the first moment the kids see all the presents Santa left.

  85. To help keep things organized, I have an envelope that every Christmas receipt goes into. I take a few minutes and write on the top or back of the receipt “Grandmas blue bracelet, hubby’s cologne”, etc. so if any items need to be exchanged or returned the receipts are easy to find!

  86. I like to prep a breakfast casserole the night before so that everyone has a yummy meal after gifts with minimal prep on Christmas morning. Making sure the phones are charged and cameras ready is a must 🙂

  87. To make Christmas morning easier, make a breakfast casserole Christmas Eve. Pop it in the oven to bake as everyone is opening gifts. This has long been a tradition in our home so mom is not stuck in the kitchen Christmas morning. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  88. My mom always flocked the windows. It made it seem more magical and cosy like being snowed in. Pretend you are snowed in and stay in jammies eat a big gourmet breakfast!

  89. I plan a budget in January and save money each month and go shopping in July when no one is thinking of Christmas. I also prep breakfast the night before and get hubby to wrap all the gifts. Thanks

  90. Be ready with your camera (charged :)) ..i just let the video on and take snapshots along the way. The kids are too busy to open their gifts and oftentimes preoccupied to pose for smiles.

  91. I have a favorite breakfast casserole recipe that can be assembled the night before. The last thing I want to do on Christmas morning is cook! Plus it’s not something we have every day, so it’s a special treat.

  92. I make Holiday Eggs (serves 6-8) the day before and then pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes on Christmas morning; very good and so easy!!! Also, I think it’s important to try and focus on the true meaning of Christmas with a reading of the first Christmas story directly from the Bible at some point during the day. We usually do it at the breakfast table.

  93. Great tips and reminders! For easy cleanup during the unwrapping of gifts,I keep a big trash bag close by to stuff the wrapping paper and other pieces of trash in. I also have a big (usually cardboard, doesn’t have to be fancy!) box for each kid to keep their toys all together after they unwrap them.

  94. I hide the gifts in a plastic tub in the garage, one for each kid. That way they are all in one place and I can wrap or assemble as I have time. And keep up with how much I’ve bought! Christmas Eve I haul it in and arrange it. Done!

  95. My best tip is to get everything done early to avoid crowds in stores. This includes meal planning and grocery shopping!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  96. As a newly single mom, I want to do everything I can to ensure my kids are happy. This is our first Christmas on our own and it will no doubt be different than in years past. Christmas has always been a special time of year at our house and I don’t want anything to change that. In order to keep the craziness to a minimum so I can enjoy our morning as much as the kids, we have been talking ahead about everyone having a small job on the big day whether it be passing out stockings to the little kids or helping cut packaging when needed. Even my two year old will have a job, trash collector. 🙂 Everyone has a part to play and it makes our morning more cohesive and enjoyable. When my kids help each other it actually adds to their magic because they share in each others’ excitement in addition to their own! Merry Christmas to everyone!

  97. Okay, very true Christmas morning can be a little crazy! I’m alot like you I make list and organize everything and double check it on Christmas eve that way I know everything is good! I make list and try to color code wrapping paper on gifts to section off who’s is who!

  98. I try to organize as much as I can ahead of time, and always do some overnight recipes so that I do not have to cook much in the morning! I…always set my alarm and get up before everyone….need that little last minute quiet time to make sure I am ready to go!

  99. I love the idea of the basket for Christmas morning. I always hate to kiss a minute going for screwdrivers and batteries!! I also will check ahead for what batteries I need. Thanks for reminding us o all this practical info!

  100. Like someone already mentioned- Make sure the camera batteries are charged! And one way we ‘prepare’ for Christmas morning is to go to Mass the night before. Don’t need to get up and scramble out the door after opening presents!

  101. Good Day! What wonderful posts and idea!
    I plan ahead and have all Kiddos gifts before Thanksgiving and a running list for everyone else, I buy throughout the month. I open boxes and check all the toys as I buy them so I can replace immediately. I do a slow declutter starting in September and a thorough clean by Thanksgiving. In my opinion Christmas starts on December 1st so I must be prepared by then. My advent calendar of activities, services and adventures needs my undecided attention. I stock up all year long on batteries and always have an extra micro SD card in case of memory overload. The night before Christmas Eve is Santa prep time. Christmas I have camera and phone charging and stocking stuffers in stocking. Christmas morning we unload our stocking…eat a nice breakfast, I drink my coffee slowly and then sit to open presents and enjoy the time up until around 2 pm when it’s time to see other family members.

  102. I try to have a crockpot breakfast ready so we don’t have to worry about that and it’s ready to eat whenever the kiddos take a break from opening/playing with gifts.

  103. My best piece of advice is to have all your wrapping done so you can get plenty of rest. Christmas day is hectic and you need to be well rested.

  104. We use different wrapping paper for each kid. Then you don’t have to mess with tags and “Santas handwriting looks like Daddy’s!”

  105. I place all of my stocking suffers for each if my children in spate bags as I purchase them for easy filling Christmas Eve.

  106. I always open the boxes, remove all packaging, install batteries or charge batteries, ect., so that my son can just unwrap and start playing with his toys right away.

  107. It seems like I’m never all the way ready but my tip is to prepare as much food ahead of of time. I also like to “clean out” toyboxs by either throwing broken or not used items out or donating gently used toys.

  108. We like to make a breakfast casserole the night before, (one of those we can refrigerate overnight and pop in the oven in the morning). Also, program the coffee for an early-morning pot and set out mugs and fixings for the kids’ hot chocolate or cider. Finally, set the breakfast table. Then all we have to do is wake up and enjoy the kids opening gifts and the joy they get from giving them. No distracted mom worrying about feeding everyone.

  109. I like to keep breakfast simple or prepare it the night before. Also have all your wrapping done days before so you’re not up all night wrapping gifts.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  110. We have a big box covered in gift wrap for the scraps to go in after they open each present so it’s not all over the place when you’re taking pictures of them opening gifts.

  111. The last few years I have made a breakfast casserole in the crockpot the night before so all we have to do is dish it up in the morning.

  112. pay attention to see if any batteries are needed for any toys that you buy or just have a big stash of various battery sizes available in case you need them

  113. This year we are simplifying our gift giving to our 5 children. We are setting the spending limit at $100/child and sticking to it. This means there will be “less” than we’ve had in past years, but for kids like mine who do not “need” anything I actually think it will be more enjoyable! 🙂

  114. Santa always left a small gift at the foot of the children’s beds. The excitement of them finding, opening and running to show us the gift woke us up. This meant that we were always able to see their excitement of seeing the gifts and the lighted tree and capture this on video.

  115. Make sure you are stocked up on batteries for those who forget. 🙂 We also make a overnight breakfast in the crockpot…so breakfast is ready!

  116. My best advice is to make sure your camera/video is ready and just enjoy the moment, Don’t try to make things happen with a schedule..just let it happen naturally.

  117. If you purchase gifts early, make sure you check to expiration date on the receipt to ensure that if there’s a problem with a gift that’s opened Christmas Day, you can return/exchange.
    We purchased our gifts early, in November. When we opened gifts we had gifts that didn’t work to family wanting to exchange for something new. However, the expiration to return was within 30 days. Some receipts are no exchanges as short as 10 days…

  118. Prepare a French toast casserole any time before Christmas and freeze it. On Christmas Eve, put it into the fridge so it’ll be ready to bake on Christmas morning! You’ll have a great breakfast and the house will smell so good 🙂

  119. I get breakfast and lunch items all ready the night before so I can enjoy more time with my family and not be in the kitchen all day.

  120. Buy only 3 gifts for your kids that they really want! Ours get so much they are often overwhelmed on Christmas not knowing what to play with.

  121. We use different gift wrap for gifts from us and from Santa. Also, we joy down the gifts that Santa gave the kids so we remember not to mention,”I bought this toy for you!”

  122. My best tip is to accept help when it is offered! My across-the-street neighbor’s kids are past the age of believing in Santa, but they love playing “elves” for us. Last year, they assembled a play kitchen, two scooters, and some other stuff for us, then brought it all across to our house after our kids fell asleep on Christmas Eve!

  123. It is hard to think of only one item,.

    I always have an easy buffet breakfast of grab and go items like cranberry nut bread near a toaster, muffins, bacon, hard boiled eggs, orange juice, champagne, Bloody Mary mix, and anything else that looks good and is a self service for breakfast item. That way as we take breaks from Christmas fun, everyone can eat when they want.

  124. Thank you for all the great tips! I love the dump truck story. Remember batteries for your camera and coffee. If you have 2 ways to enter a room make sure the camera is set up to see both entries or direct the kids one way. We always wait to come down together Christmas morning.
    Thanks for all you do! Happy Thanksgiving.

  125. Love the ideas! I had never thought about putting batteries in before wrapping so the toys are play ready when open. My best tip would be that we let the kids dig in their stockings while we get coffee, let the dog out turn on the fire and get settled, it keeps them busy for a few so we can all be focused for gift opening time!

  126. Make sure the cameras are charged and have enough memory. Have outfits all ready for heading out in the afternoon

  127. We try to buy some gifts throughout the year so that it is not such a huge cost in December. As we get giufts we check to see if they require batteries. We try to pickj up the batteries at black Friday sales. We wrap presents little by little and hiude them in our master bedroom closet (no peeking allowed)! We plan easy, no fuss breakfast four the big day and try to enjoy the magic and each other. ~ Gin K.~

  128. I decided years ago to switch our stockings for Santa sacks. We leave our stockings hanging and use them just for decorations. I have a decorated sack for each family member. I can add stocking stuffers as I purchase them. Just put them on the hearth on Christmas morning. Kids don’t have any trouble getting to them and can sit and open easily.

  129. I decided years ago to switch our stockings for Santa sacks. We leave our stockings hanging and use them just for decorations. I have a decorated drawstring sack for each family member. I can add stocking stuffers as I purchase them. Just put them on the hearth on Christmas morning. Kids don’t have any trouble getting to them and can sit and open easily.

  130. Have trash bags ready to go for morning wrapping paper chaos. Our christmas isn’t too bad in the morning…we each open a gift one at a time to prolong it a little…so picking up the wrapping paper isn’t such a hassle. Still trying to decide on a game we can play where my kids have to answer questions correctly in order to open a gift…a fun game though…lol.

  131. All these posts just made me google “breakfast casserole.” 🙂 For the last few years, my family has played “Secret Santa” to cut down on expenses and focus our gift-giving: we draw names out of a hat, and each person gives 1 gift to 1 person. Usually $20 or $30 limit. We then find out on Christmas who our secret Santa was. Your post is also a great reminder / motivator to get organized about batteries; we almost always need batteries for something (usually it sits in “broken” status for weeks or months), and we almost always have old batteries waiting to be recycled. Here’s a fantastic online locator for the nearest battery recycle spots:

  132. We only have one child so it isn’t quite a chaotic but we nuy batteries for any tous that need them at the time we buy the toy and tape them to the toy. I make surw we have tools close by as well….and charge up all cameras etc.

  133. Our biggest hint is to take it easy and let the kids dictate how fast (or slow) the presents get opened. Not having a tight timeline means that they have time to enjpy the toys as they open them.

  134. My best tip is to remember what this season is really about, the gifts are nice but the people who matter in your life cannot be replaced!!

  135. I pre-make a breakfast casserole the day before so I can just pop in the oven Christmas morning! I like your idea of the basket with supplies you might need Christmas morning!

  136. As a mother of 3 kids, I’m very rigid about the idea that they get an equal number of presents, even though 2 of them are now teenagers and are much more flexible themselves about what they get. My kids always beg me to put presents under the tree as soon as we put the tree up. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen victim to this too many times, and have wrapped and put presents out without cataloguing what’s there. Then, when I try to finish my shopping I have no idea who has what. So, now I always keep a list of what everyone is getting, then I check them off the list as I wrap them and put them under the tree. Hopefully, never again will I have to unwrap presents while the kids are sleeping to remind myself of who got what. I also purchase one special wrapping paper to use just for the gifts that come from Santa and are put under the tree on Christmas Eve after the kids are asleep.

  137. I always try to keep Jesus at the center of our Christmas. It takes a lot of the pressure off when I focus on the real reason for the season.

  138. I have comfy pjs for my kids for them to open Christmas Eve… them a little something to open and enjoy that night. I also keep track of what gifts I have purchased and where they are hidden so I don’t have the last minute “I know I got her gift but where did I put it?”

  139. I love your advice! The “essentials” basket is great! I also prepare a Christmas (and Thanksgiving) breakfast casserole the night before and pop it in the oven (or whoever gets up first) for an easy breakfast that everyone in our house loves. Less stress and more time with the family is what it’s all about!

  140. My best tip for being prepared is to start in November at the least, make a list and check it off as you go. Wrapping always takes longer than you think so plan a whole day for that.

  141. I love the basket tip! Put everything you could possibly need Christmas morning into a basket for quick and easy access. Thanks!

  142. On Christmas morning, to relish the gifts, some older child gets to play Santa with a Santa hat and deliver gifts one by one so there isn’t a rush by each to open gifts without recognizing what they’ve received before moving onto the next.
    This slows he morning down to a pace and measured gratitude has a chance to take hold(:
    Plus, fewer toys get broken in the opening if we can focus on one at a time!

  143. Any ideas for how to execute the new pet from Santa? Kitten or puppy or other critter?
    We are mobilizing for the addition to our family. Our 13yr old needs a best friend. Any ideas on how to make it special? Or shall we forgo the “surprise” element?

  144. On Christmas Eve, I always leave my camera next to the living room (where we open presents). In the morning, I try to get there before my kids so I can capture their surprised faces when they see what Santa left them!

  145. My best thing I did to make Christmas morning run more smoothly was to start wrapping WAY before Christmas Eve last year. I say it every year, but last year I wrapped over the couple weekends leading up to the holiday. We always go to a family member’s house on Christmas Eve and get back late-ish. Usually, that is when my husband and I finally have time to start wrapping kid gifts and getting everything ready. NOT SO last year! We planned ahead, wrapped ahead, prepped breakfast ahead, and were in bed on Christmas by around 10pm. Amazing! We were up early and relaxed, rather than super tired from a late night of wrapping and stocking stuffing. It was wonderful, and I’m doing it again every year from now on. Just takes a little planning ahead. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *