How to Make Christmas Morning Special

Sally Painter
Mother and daughters watching Santa on laptop

Make the morning on Christmas day extra special with a few creative ideas. Go beyond the basic family breakfast and present opening, and be sure to take lots of photos!

Magical Santa Moments on Christmas Morning

Create memories by having some special moments with Santa and his helpers on Christmas morning.

Catch Santa on Video

You can create great fun for your kids by using your security camera or your cellphone to create a video capture of Santa putting gifts under the tree. You can announce to your kids your intentions or you can allow them to discover the footage when they wake in the morning.

Notes From Santa

It's always a fun time when your child(ren) received a note from Santa. This can be left on top of the emptied plate of cookies they left out for Santa. Print the letter out on parchment paper. For a special touch, you can singe the edges to make it look as though it caught on fire if not in your fireplace the neighbors or someone else's. Santa can apologize for the burned edges. Roll the note like a scroll, secure with a red ribbon tied around it. Other ways to make Santa's note special:

  • Give the scroll an official Santa wax seal that must be broken in order to read the scroll.
  • Add a candy cane for each child to the scrolled letter.
  • Use a stamp below Santa's signature to make it official. This could be one of Rudolph or one that says Santa's workshop.
Santa Leaving Note

Elves Help Santa Make Magic

Santa doesn't do it by himself; he has help from elves! On Christmas Eve, sprinkle some flour around the tree before the kids go to bed to help them "catch" Santa. Then surprise your kids with lots of tiny elf footprints around the Christmas tree and on top of the table. There are two ways to do this:

  • Use baby or toddler shoes to make the footprints.
  • If you want to make bare footprints, use the side of your fist to make an impression and then make toes using your fingers, lifting cleanly off the flour to avoid smudges.

Leave a note from Santa about his very bad elves who got into the flour and tried to clean it up, but he had to leave the mess because he had more deliveries. To make up for the mess, Santa leaves a special gift for your kids or for the family.

Make Gift Giving Special

While most couples, families, and friends will exchange Christmas gifts in the morning, you can go above and beyond to make this tradition extra special for everyone.

Create a Gift Trail

Use the elf footprints to lead your kids or significant other to finding elf gifts (make sure these are small gifts). Have the footprints stop so the footprints are side by side and place a small present each time the elves stop. Alternatively, use reindeer or sleigh bells that increase in size. The larger bells should be place near the hidden gift. After the gifts are collected and opened, provide each child with a red ribbon so they can string the bells together and place on the tree, mantel, or even add to their stocking.

Helium Balloon Gifts for Everyone

This fun Christmas morning surprise is sure to delight young, old, and everyone in between! Tie long streamers onto large holiday balloons and attach a lightweight gift, such as candies, a lightweight personalized Christmas tree ornament, or even gift cards and homemade Christmas coupons. Don't select gifts that will weight the balloons too much. If you opt to rent a helium tank and blow-up the helium balloons, you can place the gifts inside the balloons. Make sure the streamers can be reached by everyone. If you wish to give specific gifts, you can write the recipient's name on balloons or attach to the streamer.

Helium balloons with strings hanging down in living room

House-to-House Gift Hunt

You can give your family a special exciting Christmas morning when you create a gift hunt, and teens will especially love this activity.

Girls Sitting in the Back of a Car
  1. Place four or five gifts at various family member's or a friend's homes.
  2. Arm your teenagers (or those going on the hunt) with gifts to give homeowners they visit, such as homemade cookies, candy or other goodie.
  3. Give your kids the first clue which they should be able to figure out fairly quickly, such as "It all began with them," for a grandparent's home.
  4. The next clue is given to them after they collect the gift and give their plate of cookies, etc.
  5. Set a time limit, so your kids don't get distracted and overstay at one stop.
  6. Make a rule that they can't open the gifts until they return home and that once they've collected all the gifts, they'll receive another one when they return home with them unopened.

You can do a similar gift hunt with younger children by having them go from one room to another to collect gifts and clues where the next gift might be. You and your mate or other family member can take turns being in the designated room to keep the game going.

Christmas Morning Food Recipes and Ideas

You can make Christmas morning special with the foods you choose to serve your family or friends. Select foods that everyone will like and enjoy.

Family having breakfast on Christmas morning

Pancakes in Christmas Shapes

Make pancakes in Christmas shapes. Use metal cookie cutters. Spray with a cooking oil to avoid sticking. Place on the griddle and pour pancake mix into the center of the cookie cutter. Once the pancake is ready to turn over, remove the cookie cutter with a pair of tongs. Spray with cooking oil and repeat.

  • Give your kids lots of fun sprinkles, whip cream, berries, syrups, and candies to decorate their edible ornaments.
  • Add green food coloring to pancake mix for making Christmas trees and red for Santa shapes.
  • Take photos of your child(ren) creating their pancake Christmas shapes as well as their finished masterpieces.
  • Adults can also enjoy this fun food creation!

Edible Christmas Ornament Ball Pinata

You can use a cute cake pan, like the Nordic Ware pinata cake pan, or make your own by cutting out the center of cake layers using a circle smaller than the cake layer. Stack the cake layers and fill the center. Alternatively use a breakfast bread recipe and fill it with Christmas candies and decorate as a large Christmas ball ornament. You can also place small toys like plastic whistles, animals, mini YoYos, etc.

Adult Version of Christmas Pinata

You can use this idea for an adult version. Instead of filling with candies, add several gifts for your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend.

  • Use this idea to present an engagement ring on Christmas morning.
  • Present with either candies or gifts on Christmas morning to special friends.
  • Take this cake to a family Christmas breakfast.

Progressive Christmas Breakfast

You and your friends can have a fun Christmas morning with a progressive Christmas breakfast. Plan ahead on what each stop will serve, such as a bacon dish, an egg dish, hash brown casserole, and biscuits. Have everyone end up at your home. It's the perfect option for couples and singles who don't have other plans.

Friends preparing breakfast in the kitchen on Christmas morning

While this can work with families, getting children in and out of cars at multiple stops can be cumbersome when they just want to open gifts and play in the morning. Consider doing this for brunch after the gifts if you want to include children.

How to Take Great Christmas Morning Photos

Everyone wants to have photos of their Christmas morning, whether you pose for pictures in front of the tree before playing games or want to look your best while opening gifts. Take great ones when you follow a few simple photo rules.

Mother taking photo of kids on Christmas morning

Low Maintenance Tips

Most people don't want to go to great grooming lengths on Christmas morning, but you don't want to look scary either. A few techniques can keep your grooming maintenance low for this special morning.

  • Low light is better that bright harsh lights.
  • Use photo apps to enhance and edit Christmas morning photos.
  • Staying in your Christmas pajamas keeps photographs realistic and doesn't require outfit changes.
  • Everyone should brush their teeth and wash their faces so they are fresh and ready to go.

Quick Hair Solutions for Christmas Morning

Opt for a simple hairdo. You can tie back your hair, twist it in the back and hold in place with a small clip. Women and girls can put their hair into high pigtails and curl the ends quickly, while men and boys may simply slick their hair back with a little water. Simple kids' hairstyles, like braids or side parts, make getting ready easy for little ones. Women can also utilize ponytail styles for unruly locks while men can comb hair back or make a fast man bun if their hair is longer. Anyone can don a knitted cap if that's more their style.

Festive Games for Christmas Morning

Whether you make Christmas games a part of your morning tradition or simply need a few fun ideas to keep things exciting as you move into the afternoon, they are sure to make wonderful holiday memories.

Family playing a game at Christmas

Guess the Gift

This can game can be played by a couple but is more fun with a lot of people. If you don't have a family, invite friends to join you. Be sure you have a stuffed stocking for each person!

  • Each person must try to guess what is inside each gift they want to open. Each miss costs them something from their Christmas stocking that's placed in a large bowl. At end of opening presents, those who lost something from their stocking have the opportunity to win it back.
  • You must name one gift someone else received to retrieve one of your stocking stuffers.
  • For each stocking sacrifice, you must name someone else's gift.
  • Warning: This game may dissolve into fun chaos, while everyone retrieves their stocking stuffers.

Name That Christmas Tune Table Game

Save a gift for each friend or family member and place it on the breakfast table. Use a playlist to play the first five notes of a Christmas song. Start at one end of the table. Ask the first person to name the song or carol. If they fail, they can't open their gift. Continue around the table until everyone has opened their table gift.

Find Santa's Bag

Leave a note from Santa about an elf stealing his bag and asking your kids to look for it. If they find it, they can have whatever is inside. Leave clues in various places leading them from one clue to the next where the bag is hidden where they find a gift for each of them. Depending on the age of your children, you can make this as complicated or as easy as you desire. You can play this game even if you don't have any children. Enlist the help of a family member or friend to hide the bag and write the clues. In the bag place a gift from you to your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend and one from your mate to you.

Christmas Movie Cut Outs

This game uses iconic symbols from Christmas movies. Choose at least two or three symbols for each movie you wish to use to allow enough choices for the number of people attending your Christmas breakfast. For example, the movie Home Alone has quite a few possible symbols, such as a bucket, a pizza, a red-hot doorknob, blowtorch, glue, etc.

  1. Create the symbols by printing and cutting out before the game.
  2. Place the cut outs in a bowl.
  3. Each person takes a turn removing a cutout, without looking.
  4. Each must name the movie the symbol represents.
  5. If they get it correct, they receive a prize of your choice.
  6. If they fail, the symbol is placed back in the bowl.

Would You Rather

This popular game can be tailored for any family or group of friends. This version takes a spin by requiring the person answering to explain why their choice is good for them. The object is to pose the question as an either/or with neither of the choices being desirable. The more difficult it is to choose the better! For example, "Would you rather receive a lump of coal or a briar switch?"

  • Create your questions prior to the game and place in a bowl to be selected by players.
  • Players must choose one of the options offered.
  • Keep the questions centered around Christmas.
  • The reasons for the answers must be Christmas related, such as, "I would use the coal to build a fire next Christmas and show Santa what a bad idea it was to leave me with a fire starter!"

Make Christmas Morning Extra Special

There are several ways you can make Christmas morning extra special. It only takes a little imagination and planning to reap the rewards of appreciation from your family or friends.

How to Make Christmas Morning Special