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Mama Drama: Christmas Morning Craziness

Dear Mama Drama:

Christmas day is a nightmare at my house. My children run downstairs, dump their stockings, tear open all the gifts and then fight over who got what.

(photo credit.)

When the rest of the family comes over, it’s the same thing. They greet their grandparents with, “What’d you bring me? What’d you bring me?” Then there is wrapping paper everywhere and they have no idea who gave them what presents nor any appreciation for them.

It’s like a feeding frenzy. I have no idea what to do to make this better.

~Feeling Frenzied

Dear Frenzied:

Creating a routine for Christmas morning and opening presents is just as important as developing regular daily routine. Since your children have a pattern of behavior already established, it is important that you start talking with them before Christmas morning about changes in your expectations this year.

Begin discussing the importance of appreciating their gifts, whether they are from Santa, parents, or other relatives and friends. Let them know your concerns with their previous behavior and how you would like that to change. Teach them ways to express gratitude and have them practice.

Create a new Christmas morning tradition together. Perhaps the kids can all climb in bed with you and snuggle.  You could all take turns doing shoulder rubs or tickling backs. You could also read a book together. If everyone is old enough, perhaps they can read quietly in their rooms until a specified time.

Make a new rule that you will wait to open presents until all family members are downstairs. Set a time when everyone is expected to be up. As they begin with their stockings, give them each an area where they can open their gifts. Encourage them to take items from their stocking one at a time, rather than dumping them, and examine the gift.