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Christmas Strategies with a Toddler

We just celebrated Caroline’s second birthday. It was small and sweet- just us and her grandparents that were visiting at the time. It was perfect.

Caroline was home and got to play with her toys immediately and enjoy family time! At this age, toddlers really want to play with their presents NOW, not move on to the next present and play with everything afterwards. Totally fine, and so much fun to watch- but it is SLOW!

So, it got us thinking about Christmas (which is only a month after her birthday).

We want Caroline to enjoy her toys and not be overwhelmed. At the age of 2 that simply doesn’t involve opening everything on Christmas.

Here’s our plan for Christmas with a Toddler:

1. A month of giving!

Caroline has a decent amount of presents. We’ve decided to randomly give her presents throughout the month of December. This way, she can enjoy her gifts and not be rushed to move onto the next gift to unwrap. So, if you’ve sent a gift don’t be surprised if you see it in a picture or get a thank you sooner than you were expecting!

2. Stockings

My family changed up what we did with opening stockings and presents throughout the years. My favorite schedule of events involved opening stockings on Christmas eve. I really like the idea of continuing on with this tradition.

3. Santa presents

Yes, we are teaching our daughter that Santa exists! I found a great article about how it helps teach them scientific processing…and I really do think it does. Anyways… Santa is going to leave presents out Christmas morning that are unwrapped.

I love the idea of waking up and running downstairs to see what Santa left. My parents did this when I was young and I remember how fun it was!  (No we don’t do and won’t do Elf on the Shelf)…

4. Unwrap presents

We are going to leave a handful of presents under the tree for Caroline to open Christmas day. She can take her time and open at her leisure! Mama and daddy will get to unwrap all of our presents at this point as well.

5. Christmas can be flexible

If we are traveling or not home on Christmas day, we are having Christmas eve and Christmas morning at our house either before or after.

It is ok if our family Christmas doesn’t happen on 12/25. We aren’t trying to travel with presents! Christmas to us is about spending quality family time, and the date we celebrate with presents can be flexible!

6. Snacks and Naps

My family likes to eat on holidays. That’s all we do. We make snacks and munch ALL day long! As a parent on normal days, I don’t offer snacks. As a parent on holidays… my 2 year old can have all the snacks she wants. We adjust our rules on these days.

As for naps- depends on the age, but my general idea is that babies and toddlers are just more fun to be around, and will end up getting better quality time with people if they nap.

So, while I’m not against skipping a nap if need be, it is in everyone’s best interest to try and stick to somewhat of a normal schedule if possible.

This allows for a happy, well rested child! If you can’t make it happen, don’t worry and go with the flow. Things will work out. Holidays are a time to be flexible, and even stay up late. Memories are the most important thing- let them happen!

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