I’m not on board with Christmas creep in the least, but I’m all about planning ahead. So, when it comes to Christmas present planning for my boys, I’ve been collecting a stash of gifts for the past few months. Hidden, in the back of the closet, are a few of the items from their wish list waiting.

Actually, buying things early for your kids is just part of pre-Christmas morning planning.

Here are 5 pre-Christmas morning hacks you need to make the day smoother.

BE PREPARED

When you buy the big train sets, car race tracks, or model whatever, chances are they are attached by dozens of little twist ties, and zap straps to the cardboard. This makes it look great in the box on the shelf at the store, but if you have a super excited kid because you just nailed the BEST. PRESENT. EVER!, then they will drive you batty wanting to play with it.

be prepared

Solving this problem is simple: unpackage it before you wrap it. The kid doesn’t care how it looks in the box, they want the toy. So pull all those annoying straps off in advance, and then wrap it a separate box.

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

Playmobil NHL Arena

My boys will be getting the new Playmobil NHL Arena on Christmas morning. It comes with a lot of pieces and stickers. They’re going to want it NOW when they open the box, so I spent some time getting all the pieces put together in advance.

Playmobil NHL Arena

For Christmas morning, I will wrap up the empty box. They will see the big picture of kids jamming to old school table hockey, scream with glee, and then I will take the ready built Playmobil NHL Arena down for them to immediately play with.

The only thing I’ve left to do are place the team stickers on the ice and players. I’m going to let the boys decide on that.

Playmobil NHL

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED

Toys for younger kids come with complicated screw locked battery chambers. You won’t know where the screwdrivers are on Christmas morning, so load them in advance. For the older kids “please charge” is the new “batteries not included.”

sphero ollie darkside

If you’re giving electronics for Christmas, make sure that baby has some juice in it so the kids can play with it right away. Zacharie and Charlie will be getting the Sphero Ollie, and I’ve been charging it up this week because …

LEARN HOW IT WORKS

I’ve got to learn how it works because nobody reads instructions. A few years ago I bought my wife a GPS for Christmas. Before I wrapped it up, I used it in my car for a few weeks. I learned how it worked, made sure it was charged, and loaded in her address book. On Christmas morning, instead of waiting for it to charge, and reading the manual, I could give her a hands-on demonstration of how it worked and it was ready to go!

That’s how I’m handling the Sphero Ollie for the boys this Christmas. It’s a VERY cool app enabled robot that runs around and performs all sorts of cool tricks.

At night, after they’re in bed, I’m mastering the maneuvers for two reasons. 1) so I can show them how it’s done 2) so I can get some play time in, because once I hand over the remote, I’m never getting it back.

LOAD IT UP

If they are lucky enough to be getting a tablet or music or gaming device, load it up with some of their favorite games or music so it’s ready to go. That includes things like the Sphero Ollie. It’s an app powered toy, so I’ll get the app on a back page of their iOS devices, get all the firmware updates done, and make it ready to go on Christmas morning.

sphero ollie updates

Christmas creep is bad, Christmas planning with these Christmas morning hacks is just smart parenting.

What’s your sure fire way to make sure you have a stressless December 25 with eager kids?

Disclosure: I received some of the products mentioned in the post as well as duplicates to be donated to the Calgary Firefighters Toy Drive in exchange for this post.

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