How to combat overstimulation Christmas morning!




Last Christmas was number four for Cali. It was the first time she was beginning to understand the concept of Santa. I was like a little kid, giddy with excitement to see her reaction as she came down the stairs to see Santa’s offerings!


I heard little footsteps coming down the stairs. Cali and Ava rounded the corner and their eyes lit up!! I couldn’t wait to get started!


Seeing Santa’s gift was exciting, almost too exciting. The lit up eyes started to loose their sparkle as she looked around and saw the other wrapped presents surrounding her “area”.  Once those presents were spotted her eyes were now completely lost. No more expression, except for a zoned out look. A few short moments ago excitement filled the room, now all you could see was an overwhelmed little four year old ripping through the presents with out a thought as to what she was doing. I would try to engage with her. “Cali, wow look at what Santa brought you!!” Her reply was something like, “yeah”, complete with a dazed look. That was how Christmas morning went. Rip through a present, on to the next present, rip through a present, on to the next present. Overstimulation?? I think so!!


Now here’s the thing. I think most kids find themselves overwhelmed and overstimulated on Christmas morning. You will probably be safe if you’re sticking with two or three presents, but I am guilty of giving a few more;) It’s not fun to see them display zero affect during a time that should be filled with genuine excitement.


Over Thanksgiving break I had an idea!! We were down in Texas visiting my family. On a particular morning we were sitting in the kitchen, rummaging through magazines. We came across these cute Santa bags filled with presents. Aha!!!! That was the plan. I would buy Cali and Ava Santa bags where we could place their presents.  This time as they round the corner to see Christmas morning, they would see Santa’s one unwrapped gift, their stocking, and a large red bag. That’s it! At this point they each know about Santa’s red beg and what it means. Surely they will know where the presents are hidden.


The idea with the bag is to hopefully eliminate some of the overstimulation. So here is my plan…


1. Come down and see Santa’s gift.

2. Rummage through their stocking.

3. Then start on Santa’s bag. They can reach in the bag for whatever present they would like to open. Once they have chosen their gift, we can cinch up the bag. They can then focus on that one present and hopefully genuinely enjoy it for at least a minute or two.


Of coarse they are old enough and smart enough to be aware there are plenty presents within the bag. They will be eager to open all of them. But the hope is that containing the presents and not having every one in plain sight, might help manage the overstimulation. And hey, this isn’t a bad idea for large families as well!! Mixed up presents is never a fun thing!!


The bags I purchased are from Not On The High Street. If you google Santa Bag in your search bar, a litany of bags will pop up.

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