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  • Kathryn R. Biel

Christmas Hacks for Moms with Littles

Batten down the hatches. We're about to hit zero hour. The week before Christmas is upon us. It's the week when we try to do all the things, and the kids are nuts, and there's another concert or pageant and you have to wear what and dear Lord, am I tired.

I need Christmas cookies, stat.

To eat, not to bake, obviously, because who has time for that?

Cat in a box filled with wrapping paper and presents

So, I'm going to offer you some tips. Obviously, there's more than one way to do things, but read a bit to understand these hacks to save yourself a bit of sanity over the next two weeks. This works best for those moms just starting out, so please feel free to share with your mom friends and those with babies or small toddlers. It's best to get in with these tricks from the getgo.

Young girl child helping decorate Christmas tree

Hack #1: Stolen from my mom

Santa doesn't wrap presents.

Okay, hear me out. This is sort of genius. Santa doesn't wrap presents. How can he with all those presents?

What this does for you is four-fold:

A. It saves time by being less presents for you to wrap. Who doesn't want to save time right about now? Make those odd-shaped presents from Santa and save yourself even more headaches.

B. It prevents the matching of wrapping paper or handwriting on gift tags. Maybe this buys you an extra year or two of believing (and therefore the power to use Santa to get good behavior for at least a few days before Christmas).

C. It identifies what's from Santa and what's from Mom/Dad/Grandparents/Siblings, so that the actual people in a child's life may get some credit for gift giving.

D. It adds a visually stunning aspect to Christmas morning. Not only are there wrapped gifts, but then you can see the big thing! Kids may actually stop and play with a gift for a few seconds before tearing through all the wrapping paper, undoing hours of hard work in 9.2 seconds.

Christmas tree with unwrapped legos and American Girl stable and horse
The unwrapped gifts add some punch to the tree.

Hack #2: Stolen from a work colleague

Santa gives one present. It's usually the big thing, which can in reality be a set or two combined, but there's only one main thing from Santa. The rest is from family. You bought the gifts; you should get the credit. The best gifts, like electronics, should be from the parents.

Christmas tree with wrapped presents, science games, and Barbie house and car
One main gift per child, even though there might actually be a few small things combined

Hack #3: I came up with this on my own

Family Fun Day

If you have the luxury of this (which I know I'm fortunate to have), we have a family fun day the Sunday before Christmas. On this day, my husband (or sometimes my parents) take the kids out and do something fun. A movie. Bowling. Making gingerbread houses. I don't really know and I don't really care. All I know is EVERYONE leaves the house for 3-4 hours in which time I pull out all the gifts, sort, figure out if I need anything else, and wrap. I put some Christmas music on, make some cocoa, and spread the wrapping stuff all over the dining room floor. I don't have to worry about anyone walking in or anything. Everyone else has fun and I have peace of mind knowing the wrapping is done without me staying up until the wee hours of the morning, which, working 2 jobs, I really can't do.

Hack #4: Another Stroke of Genius from Me

Everyone gets their own wrapping paper.

I usually buy two rolls per person, so I don't run out. Then, when I'm having my wrapping party, I wrap all of the gifts for one person at a time, plowing through because I don't have to keep searching for paper. Time-efficient, which we all need.

But wait, there's more. If I don't get a chance to put gift tags on them, or the gift tags fall off, I STILL KNOW WHO GETS WHAT GIFT because they're color-coded. Also, if only one present is from Santa, and it isn't wrapped, then you could possibly get away with not doing gift tags at all, if everything else is from you. More time saved, right there.

Christmas tree with a pile of presents wrapped in blue and a pile of presents wrapped in aqua
My kids are too told for Santa now, but the color-coding makes it easy to know who gets what

Okay, I know I haven't cured cancer here, but if these tips can make your life a little easier, Momma, then consider them my gift to you. And I won't judge you if you keep all the good cookies for yourself.

Merry Christmas!


Telling stories of resilient women with humor, heart, and a happy ending, Kathryn R. Biel is an award-winning author of numerous women's fiction, romantic comedy, and contemporary romance books. Her newest book, Seize the Day: The UnBRCAble Women Series, #2, released November 7, 2019.

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