Holidays are a joyful time of year. Especially if you have children. I may or may not be sarcastic when I say that.
As a Christian family of five children, we have always wanted Christmas to be something special for our kids. We wanted to be those parents who did everything right. But we found that in the days leading up to Christmas, our children were focusing on the wrong thing. They counted their presents under the tree. Sometimes daily. Not only that, but they compared and discussed it with others, spreading despair.
The ones with the most presents had bragging rights. The ones with the least were sure to have the worst Christmas ever. At least that’s how they saw it.
Now don’t get me wrong. We’ve always believed that gift-giving (within reason) is a healthy tradition at Christmastime. And we enjoy nothing more than watching the expressions on our kids’ faces as they open their presents Christmas morning. Those were some of my fondest childhood memories.
I suppose you could make the argument that this is just kids being kids, I guess. In fact, I remember counting gifts too when I was younger. Last year, in fact. But we want our kids to be better than we were.
So one year, I came up with an idea that changed everything. A simple system anyone can use to prevent present counting. Hopefully it will make your Christmas as contention free as ours.
Don’t name the gifts, number them. Make sure the last digit coincides with the child who’s gift it is. For example, the number when labeling a gift for our first child always ends in “1.” The second child’s number ends in “2” and so forth.
To a more sophisticated youth, this may seem like an easy code to crack. But not if you vary the length of the numbers. Make some of them 10 digits long. It doesn’t matter. One gift last year had a number that spanned the length of the gift. The only thing that matters is the final digit.
Christmas morning, a child simply chooses a gift and brings it to one of us and we announce who’s gift it is. You can even make a game of it. Listen to the number, feel it or smell it. Drive them nuts as they try to figure it out.
We’ve successfully used this for many years now and consider some of our kids to be quite astute at figuring out things like this (based on their history of cracking pass codes). Now it’s yours to use.
Merry, trouble-free Christmas!