Holidays Made Merrier with Design Mom

Written by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom for Building Blocks.

Squee! Christmas is coming! And I’m thrilled to be posting on Building Blocks today as part of Pottery Barn Kids’ special series, Holidays Made Merrier. I’ll be sharing my treasured holiday family traditions plus favorite gift selections, and next week, you’ll get the same treat from another featured blogger. Bonus: PBK is giving away a $500 gift card to one lucky winner both this week and next week – to enter, see below!


Right around this part of December, I start to form a solid picture in my head of what Christmas morning will look like. Of course, I have no idea how the kids will react – though I’m always shooting for wide eyes and open-mouthed gasps! – but I can certainly influence the setting and atmosphere. How the presents are displayed, how the room will be lit (nothing too bright!), which music will play, what kind of holiday scents will fill the air — these are all things I consider as I plan the big day.


With that in mind, here are three of my family’s favorite traditions that help create a pretty darn magical Christmas morning.

First, make sure there’s something BIG under the tree. Not big as in expensive, but as in takes-up-space – a teepee, ride-on car, cardboard fort, play kitchen, bike, easel, or anything else that feels larger than life to a child. And there doesn’t need to be an oversized gift for everyone – just one big thing that wasn’t there the night before is enough to achieve the desired impact. It can even be something the whole family can enjoy.

Second, don’t overdo it. We all know that Christmas can turn into overkill fast. In the quest to see your child filled with delight, gifts pile up, and pile up, and pile up – and it can end up feeling like way too much. So, our family institutes a three-gifts-from-Santa rule: he brings something to read, something to wear and something to play with. And that’s it for gifts from Santa!

I know it might sound austere, but remember: there are also stockings filled with goodies, gifts from grandmas and grandpas and cousins, gifts the kids give each other, etc. Putting a limit on the gifts that Santa brings just means the morning is a little less over the top than it might otherwise be.

Third, be sure one of the gifts is something that MOVES! An electric toy train is a classic choice – unwrap it, set it up and turn it on just seconds before the kids come into the room. You can give it as a gift only once, but after that, the kids can set it up every Christmas Eve in anticipation of the big day – it’s a great family tradition.

Writing about the holidays has me giddy – Christmas morning with kids is as good as it gets! Don’t forget to enter below for your chance to win my favorite gift picks from Pottery Barn Kids – hurry, this week’s giveaway ends Dec. 22nd!

I love pottery barn! My oldest son is 18 years old and my youngest is 11 months old and I want to decorate his new bedroom in all pottery barn! 🙂

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