Has this ever happened to you?...
Everyone has opened their gifts, wrapping paper is strewn everywhere. You are about ready to start dinner as everyone seems happy and content. You go into the kitchen and suddenly one of your children appears at your side with two words that you thought surely that day you wouldn't hear...
"I'm bored." or it's companion.... "There's nothing to do"
One thing that I consider essential for gift giving occasion is something to DO. In my experience if there is no gift that engages the child in play or activity you are asking for trouble. If they love to read, a book might work, but not unless they truly love curling up with a book.
As the giver of the gifts, this "What's next" attitude can be very annoying! Recognize that children may become bored... even on a holiday! If the house is full of relatives and chaos, boredom and "antsy-ness" are not avoided. Children may need something to safely occupy themselves even more than in an empty house. [Maybe even quietly???] Plus, let us not forget that the excitement and bustle of holidays and gifts are super-hyped in both the media and children's minds. What could possibly live up to that?
Also helpful is something to engage people together. Many activities today are solitary, marked by isolating headphones etc. This makes a gift that is used or done WITH someone is especially nice. Whether a game, or a project, or a puzzle, or what doesn't matter. What matters is that it lets you give two gifts in one. The gift itself, and the time spent with another person... especially if that person is you.
So, save yourself a headache and irritation this holiday. Give something to do, and something that you can do WITH them if you possible can. Try to find a way to schedule the day so that for a part of it you can play with them, giving them that precious gift of attention. That is far more important to them than a fancy dinner.
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.