Now on the day after Christmas, it’s nice to sit down, look through our family photos, and think about what really mattered on such a special day. Each year, we develop new traditions and continue to celebrate the old. While opening gifts is only one part of the many traditions we celebrate and cherish, this part seemed well worth sharing. I hope our Christmas Day celebration can be an inspiration for your children’s birthday shopping ideas this year and more.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Christmas Day Celebrations

From waking up early to sharing the day together, Christmas brings some of the most incredible moments of the year. Since my daughters opened some awesome toys this year, I’m going to share the photos as well as a few things my children were excited about as they opened their gifts. This will be a three part series with a focus on a couple special toys coming up soon.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Anticipating The Big Day

Every day leading up to Christmas brought excitement. Days after Thanksgiving, we rushed out to buy our Christmas tree from a local tree farm. From that day on, the celebrations began. We baked cookies, looked at lights, and decorated our home all month.

On Christmas Eve when our Elf on the Shelf announced her departure, it was like a weight was on our chest. We all knew Christmas was leaving, and there was nothing we could do about it. It’s a shame this holiday happens only once a year. Everyone seems a bit happier, more giving, and more caring. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Christmas spirit lingered longer?

As we took one last look at our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, I enjoyed the decorations once more, knowing they wouldn’t be out much longer.

With my children happily tucked into bed, we had only some hours before my older daughter excitedly burst into my room. Ready to open presents, she had to be convinced to wait for her sister to wake up too.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

We Are Blessed With Wonderful Girls

When we went downstairs, my daughters’ faces shone with excitement. They couldn’t wait to discover what Santa had brought for everyone. Even though they were eager to find out whether Santa had read the letters they had sent, one of the highlights of the day was the thoughtful gifts Samantha picked out for everyone.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Opening the Stockings

We started with the stockings. Georgiana was happy with everything. She got some awesome Disney bath toys and a Minnie Mouse cup, a Mary Meyer FabFuzz plush puppy, Pokemon stickers, and more. I love how grateful she was to get plain white socks, although it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the stocking. Teaching children gratitude starts on Christmas morning with small, simple gifts that children learn to be appreciative of, even if it’s not something they asked Santa for this year.

Then, we were on to the gifts! We started with the small gifts and worked our way to the bigger items. Do you have a strategy for opening your gifts?

Most of the smaller items offered some entertainment. We got Blu Rays (Angry Birds and Finding Dory), CDs (Taylor Swift’s 1989 album), and fun children’s books (like the Baby Lit Primer Secret Garden book).

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Unwrapping Our Favorite New Toys

Games And Crafts

First, the girls opened some delightful games from Educational Insights. Since we went to Disney World this past summer (read about our vacation on Huffington Post), the Wave of the Wand Cinderella Game was a great selection for my younger daughter. A major highlight from our vacation was visiting Cinderella’s castle. Because the playing cards feature her castle and have a wand dice roller, the game went over very well.

Next, Georgiana was excited to get some Once Upon A Craft Sets. These educational craft sets focus on artistic abilities as well as literacy. With a focus on a new book and craft in each set, children can learn classic stories and work on their motor skills.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Everything On The Letter To Santa Was Under The Tree!

One of the most exciting toys was Pie Face Showdown. This game was a hot item on the wish list for Santa. To play, you use real whipped cream! It sounds completely messy and fun.

Each girl also got Puppy in My Pocket purse sets. These small items offer a lot of fun for children who enjoy using small figures to play make believe. I found them in an awesome sale Black Friday weekend. Although I had never heard of Puppy in My Pocket, I thought it was neat you can fun play sets for them and collect the different puppies.Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Peppa Pig Falls Down

My younger daughter was hoping for Peppa Pig Peppa and George Giggle and Wiggle Plush. She’s still at a good age for this cartoon, and she adores toys that move and talk. In a kind gesture, she gave Peppa to her sister so both of them can play together. They both enjoy seeing the characters fall over in laughter.
Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

A New Camera

Samantha was the most excited about her FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 camera. She had been hoping for a real camera this year (not a toy). Choosing a camera for a six year old was a difficult decision. I considered getting a digital camera we could use on vacations, but this model ended up being the best choice. I like that she can get the instant satisfaction of seeing her picture printed.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

Another hot item this year was the FurReal Friends Torch Doll – My Blazin’ Dragon. Last year, we got the Star Lilly Unicorn, Flurry the Cat, and JJ the Pug. At first, I wasn’t sure if we needed yet another FurReal toy, the dragon was the only toy Samantha included in her final list to Santa. She drove a hard bargain, explaining that she always does a good job of setting the table for dinner. Thankfully, Santa came through last minute and this fun, interactive toy showed up under the tree.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Not only does the dragon move, but you can also feed it a marshmallow and watch it breath a flame-colored mist. One disadvantage is that the dragon doesn’t come with an app like Star Lilly did. Since I was never able to get the Star Lilly app to work on my phone, this didn’t affect whether or not my children enjoyed the dragon. The FurReal Friends toys offer a lot of fun even without the app.

Calico Critters

All winter, Calico Critters have been high on my daughters’ wish lists. Together with some grandparent gifts, both girls will get to play with a Calico Critter world complete with a home and a school as well as several families.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

I love that Calico Critters are such a classic toy that I would have played with decades ago. It’s awesome to see that children are still entertained when they play make believe figures, even though there are so many more high tech items out there today.

Aurora Plush Toys

Another nice gift under the tree was plush toys. My older daughter had been asking for the Tinklink Santa Gnomlin. She saw it in some stores and catalogues before Christmas Day. Its soft beard and tummy makes it a perfect toy to cuddle with at night.

She adored the Sea Sparkle Crystal Mermaid with its beautiful pink hair, but her favorite was the Yorkie Princess. Since Yorkies are a family favorite, she couldn’t wait to share the news that she got her own plush Yorkie.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Georgiana adored the plush giraffe she got. Even though we had a ton of plush toys taking up space in our home, it’s nice to have some brand new, cuddly toys that are clean and soft.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Schleich Horse Figurine

I was glad to see that the Schleich Horse Wash Area Playset went over well. My older daughter enjoyed playing with the different parts. The playset looks nice outside of the dollhouse because it creates the look of a large yard and farm for the doll figures we already own.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Once Kids Wanderlust Play Sets

My daughters loved the Wanderlust play sets from Once Kids. They both love hearing about big cities and hope to see the world some day. With play sets that feature London and Paris, they can imagine themselves away on vacation, while also learning about important monuments in the different cities.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Mindware STEM Toys And Crafts

Some more favorite items my older daughter received were from Mindware. All of the kits were perfect for a six year old (almost seven soon) since they require some dexterity and maturity.

At the top of Samantha’s wish list was clay. She loves sculpting things and creating realistic representations of her favorite things. When she opened her Pottery Wheel, she was delighted. She can’t wait to set it up in her art room and set aside space for creating pottery.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Next, she opened her Science Academy Clean Chemistry sets. I thought it was cute that she checked with me and her dad to make sure we are okay with her using perfume and lip balm. Soon after opening the sets, she wanted to play with them, but we’re going to set aside a clean spot on the art table since this is an intricate set with parts that could easily get lost.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Finally, the Rails Builder Set went over really well too. Samantha said she has always wanted a maze runner, and she was delighted that she could design this one by herself.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations
I didn’t help Samantha open or set up the marble run. Within only about an hour, she unboxed the toy and played with it enough to figure out how to make a successful, working marble run. At first, she had a hard time figuring out the best set up to make the marbles run down, but that made it more satisfying when she discovered a working design. Check out the video of her using the marble run.

The Beauty Of Sisterly Love

My favorite part of Christmas morning was watching my daughters spend time with each other. Samantha is at a good age to learn what it’s like to choose to spend money on her sister’s Christmas gifts, rather than for toys for herself. When we recently went to a bookstore, she chose a cute puppet book for her younger sister because she remembered an older cousin choosing a special one to give her when she was a toddler.

This book was one of the most meaningful gifts to Georgiana. Don’t gifts mean the most when you know the love and kindness that goes into selecting them? I enjoyed seeing her happy expression when she realized this gift was from her sister.Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

I hope as the years go by, Samantha will continue to remember how important her sister is to her, and that Georgiana will be wise enough to know to reciprocate that love for a lifetime.
Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Seeing the two of them have this special memory together was adorable. I’m happy we documented our day so well with pictures and video. Hopefully for years to come, they will revisit these moments and think about how exciting it was to spend Christmas morning together.

Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Although these girls might argue from time to time, they are completely devoted to each other, and they love spending this Christmas break together.

Looking Into The New Year

Lately, keeping up with my writing and social media accounts has been worrisome because my MacBook Pro from 2012 has a dying battery. Santa (or a very thoughtful husband) really came through this year and got me one of the brand new MacBook Pro computers with a touch bar. I can’t wait to type my first article on my new computer!
Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

Since part of being a blogger and influencer is keeping up with photography as well as social media, I’m happy that Samantha can take on a new role of taking vintage-style photos with her camera. For a six year old, she does a lot behind the scenes at Theresa’s Reviews. Not only does she help me with social media upkeep, but she also helps me with selecting which pictures to post, how to crop and edit them, and what to say in the caption.Theresa's Reviews - 2016 Christmas Day Celebrations

What did your children enjoy opening on Christmas morning? Since my daughters will have birthdays coming up soon, I would love some inspiration of what they might want. Share the toys they loved in the comments.

For more children’s toy ideas, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flipboard and Youtube.

About The Author

Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

Related Posts

34 Responses

  1. Becky

    Your girls are so precious! Those smiles just warmed my heart! You found some really great stuff for them and I am just so glad you guys had such a merry and bright Christmas!

  2. shelah

    Your daughters are so adorable. It looks like they had so much fun. We celebrate Christmas Eve with dinner and exchange the gifts we have bought for each other. Then on Christmas morning there are the Santa gifts and stocking stuffers.

  3. Tiffany Bacon

    What a beautiful picture of Christmas. You have a beautiful family. This looks joyous! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Debbie

    What lucky kiddos you have! I would’ve loved all of those gifts (especially the camera!!). Video games were a big hit this year in our house, as well as the Hatchimal (which surprised me, but it actually WAS pretty cool after all). We have a bunch of games we haven’t tried yet, so I’ll keep you posted! I want to hear reviews on some of your items (like the pottery wheel!).

  5. CourtneyLynne

    Awwww looks like y’all
    Had one fabulous Christmas!!! Santa was definitely good to your girls 😉

  6. Catherine

    Christmas is so magical through the eyes of a child. I love seeing all your pictures from Christmas day. Your daughter looks absolutely thrilled with her Intax mini camera!

  7. Julie Porter

    Christmas is so special when your children are little. Seeing the looks of pure joy on their faces is truly priceless. Your girls are beautiful and they certainly had a very joyous Christmas!

  8. Cecilia Cannon

    oh my gosh can you adopt me. My munchkins get 2-3 presents each! Good for you and god bless! AND I truly want some of the things they got beside the fact my daughter would probably want everything! love the vintage polaroid and, well, of course a new lap top. happy 2017!

  9. Megan mccoig

    Ooh your girls got some great gifts. The instax camera is so cool. Hope you had a lovely new year and Christmas break 🙂

  10. Debra

    What a fun Christmas day that tree looks amazing! i love the Polaroid camera too, that would be be so much fun!

  11. Silvia

    Omg it looks like you had an amazing Christmas! Your girls are absolutely adorable! I’m glad everyone had a good Christmas!

  12. Liz

    Such beautiful girls. We also do stockings first. And we take out time opening. Then My kiddos pass out the gifts. My kids really loved their Discovery Kids solar system and constellation machine they got for their rooms.

  13. Reesa Lewandowski

    It looks like they had an amazing Christmas! I love their PJ’s. My daughter got a lot of those same gifts.

  14. Laura

    These are beautiful Christmas Morning Pictures! So many cool gifts too! I love your girls’ pajamas, adorable!

  15. Brittany

    Wow, it looks like you and your family had a fantastic Christmas. Your girls are so precious and I love that they still hold all the magic of Christmas in their little hearts!

  16. Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh

    I love the Christmas season as well, because it does seem like everyone is a bit happier. I miss it when it leaves, and wishes that it could be more than once a year! It looks like your girls had a wonderful Christmas!

  17. Irina

    You sure had a magical Christmas. We have 4 kiddos and sometimes we have each of them take turns opening one gift. Thus year we had the youngest open all her gifts and then we moved on to the older child. It worked out very well.

  18. Veronica

    Their pajamas are so cute! And the girls are pretty! What camera do you use to make your photos?
    Happy New Year!

  19. Kristin

    I can’t imagine live without my Pro now. Haha! Looks like you and your family had an incredible holiday celebration!

  20. Robin Rue

    Those girls and their smiles would be enough! They are absolutely precious and I am glad that you had a great holiday.

  21. Amanda Love

    I love seeing the kids smile! They look so excited to open their presents. I’m loving that instax camera, it’s perfect for keeping memories!

  22. Brittany

    Aww I love your pictures! It looks like your girls had an amazing time! My kids barely slept on Christmas Eve because they were so excited!

  23. Donna

    Looks like you guys had a great Christmas! I love the girls’ pajamas! I also like the idea of your daughter helping you pick out photos for the blog! A little budding creative you’ve got there.

  24. Breyona Sharpnack

    Looks like you guys had a great christmas and the girls received a lot of great gifts. The pictures are beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.