Sunday, 27 December 2009


The family are all gathered together. The tree is festooned with tinsel, lights and decorations and underneath it lie a great number of wrapped presents destined for the people in the room. But how do you proceed from there?

In Christmases past I have 'persuaded' my family to adopt the method which I first encountered when I was in the bosom of my first wife's family - who were Italian. Firstly, the youngest members retrieve the gifts from below the tree, read the labels and then bestow them accordingly. This means that each of us start to amass a pile of presents and in my case, the pile is usually the smallest *sob. Then the oldest person present gets to open their gifts and then the next oldest etc. The system has its pros and cons.

The good things about this method are that:
1. The youngest get to witness the ceremony - for once they have opened their presents they are lost in reverie.
2. The kids get reading practice. (Admittedly not so important if they are in their 30's).
3. I get to open my stuff first.

The bad things about the method are that:
1. It always leads to the debate 'why do we do it this way?'
2. There is no doubt who is the oldest.
3. The kids get petulant waiting.

More recently, I have been over-ruled and now we each open one thing then repeat. This means I always drop out first. Both systems have their merits - how is it done in your household?


  1. We do a gift exchange one real gift and one fun/joke gift for each person. We then draw cards and either get to open a present or "steal" present from someone else. A little more complicated than that but a lot of fun. Small children not involved just for us older kids

  2. Hope your Christmas was merry and bright.

  3. When we were young we went to church followed by breakfast. It was the only meal in the whole year that the children (I'm 1 of 4) were eager to wash up and clear away since nothing happened til everything was tidy. Then Mum had to go for her bath. It was excrutiating for us kids- we did everything to get her to go earlier or be quick but she seemed to enjoy a long wallow. Then present opening-Dad used to divvy them out and be last to open his. There were always a few remaining that didn't have labels-leading to another game of guessing what was inside and who it was for!. Now it's my 2 sons turn to hand the gifts out. We still had 1 mystery pressy with no label. looking back I can see why my mother delayed proceedings. I think the anticipation of Christmas and all it entails is better than the event.