WFMW – Christmas Names

wfmwChristmas is almost here!

Do you hear the panic in my voice? I am not ready, not ready, not ready for Christmas!! I think there should be two full weeks left until it’s actually Christmas.

Anyone else agree?

Can we vote on it?

Panic aside, I am thoroughly enjoying the season. We have Christmas lights up on the house. My Advent Calendars have been an overwhelming success. We hosted a Christmas brunch, had a huge birthday slumber party, attended a mother/daughter craft gala, and tomorrow we’re decorating cookies with friends.

So really, the only area in which I am unprepared for Christmas, is in terms of actual presents.

Now it’s my children who are panicking!

Don’t fret little ones, ships in two days. They might make it here by Christmas.

In spite of my lack of credentials in this area, my Works for Me Wednesday tip relates entirely to Christmas presents. It’s one of my ‘bestest’ ideas ever. You will love this. It truly is an awesome way of handling gifts. If you have a family with more than one child, this tip will quickly become a favorite.

Reindeer Names

At the beginning of the season (or in my case, the week before Christmas when I’m finally ready to wrap presents) in the cover of darkness and in total secrecy, I assign each member of the family a secret reindeer name.

All of the presents are labeled to follow this code. The kids know (on pain of death or, even worse, the loss of all their presents) not to sneak a peak at my Reindeer Code List.

It works something like this, suppose that Joshua is Dasher, Rachel Dancer, Daniel is Rudolph, etc, any present for Joshua that goes under the tree is thus labeled, To: Dasher.

This practice has transformed the way the kids view the presents under the tree. They no longer compare and contrast their “piles” or root around, looking for their own gifts. Instead they plot and scheme, trying to decipher which child corresponds to which reindeer.

On Christmas morning the names are revealed. It’s quite the celebration as the anticipation and eagerness have been building throughout the season.

julee's tree

This is not my tree.

In the last two years, we’ve had to expand our collection of names. There are only so many reindeer, after all, and with five children (plus Mom and Dad) you run through the list pretty fast (even counting Olive). We’ve recruited various Christmas movie characters – Frosty, Snowden, Elf; Mr. Incredible even made an appearance.

For some reason the silliness of using aliases got to us one year. Or maybe it was the fact that we were wrapping presents at 2 in the morning, either way, one of us got the notion to sign the gift tag, From: Cinderella.

At that point a new tradition was born! From then on all the presents were given from characters from movies, books, or songs.

To: Prancer
Love: The High King Peter

To: Donner
From: Ariel

The Pevensey kids from the Chronicles of Narnia have shown considerable generosity to our family. The entire Peanuts crew has also made an appearance. The boys routinely receive presents from various Disney Princesses and the little ones have been known to accept gifts from the Redwall characters. I try to be sneaky (don’t read this, kids) and throw them off the trail this way.

I’d love to hear any other tips you have for keeping the joy and wonder alive for children during the holidays. Share some of your favorite memories or creative suggestions!

Head over to Rocks in My Dryer for additional ideas.


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21 thoughts on “WFMW – Christmas Names”

  1. That is a FANTASTIC idea! Mine aren’t old enough yet, but I’ll just tuck that one away for the future.

    I use wrapping paper to designate which gifts are for which girl. Cinderella gets the blue paper with snowmen, and Sleeping Beauty gets the red paper with bears.

    I suppose that means you’d have 7 different papers, though. Yikes! That’s pricey!

  2. That is so funny! I love your idea!
    We don’t put the presents out until Christmas eve after the kids go to bed.

    Now, I want to try it your way. :)

  3. I thought about using wrapping paper, and that might even have been where this idea originated (I can’t remember at this point) but there was no way I could keep enough wrapping paper on hand to separate them out like that.

    Also, I’m such a last minute gift buyer and late night wrapper, that I’m afraid I would run out of the paper and confuse everyone. Ha!

    I love the snowman and bears paper! Two is much more doable than 5 or 7. :)

  4. This is a great idea. I was really irritated that my kids compared how many presents they have and this would take their mind off of that. Great thinking and really fun!

  5. That’s awesome. When I have kids, I’m definitely gonna have to try this because I remember comparing my piles to my brother’s when we sorted by our names. Thanks!

  6. Kathy, I remember you mentioning this last year and thought it a fun idea. We do not bring any gifts down until Christmas Eve, the bulk of them being put under the tree after the kids are in bed.

    I’m afraid my Littles would not get the whole idea of alias…at least not at this point, but I do love the idea.

  7. I love this idea; I remember you telling me about it before. Our presents don’t go out until after the kids are in bed Christmas eve, but there is still comparing and figuring out going on before they can open them after breakfast on Christmas.

  8. And I am totally with you on the vote for two more weeks until Christmas; even just one week would be lovely. Aaah!! Dave’s parents and sister’s family arrive in two days. I need time!

  9. A few years ago I assigned each gift a different number and then made my secret list designating which number was which child. I have to tell you though that my kids were so MAD at me and told me to NEVER do that again. Gosh……it was fun for me. This works well with smaller families where there wouldn’t be as many alias names under the tree, just lots of numbers.

  10. Oh Gosh! That’s an even better idea…hehe…we use wrapping paper for each child. I pick a wrapping paper design and buy enough to wrap all their presents ;) That way I don’t have to use names or secret codes and they drive me nuts until Christmas morning whining about who’s wrapping paper is who’s. And this year dd #1 is REALLY bugged because she has a pretty good idea (right on in fact) of who’s paper is who’s and she’s only got 1 present under our tree. Of course that’s because the BIG gift we bought her would not work out being wrapped and the rest of the stuff was ordered online for her and is over at my mom’s house all wrapped in various paper with NAMES on it! EEK! It mustn’t be delivered here until Christmas Eve ;)

  11. I am all about shopping on Amazon. I have also found if you have family out of state this is definitely the way to go, because you can have it shipped directly to them!!!

  12. I love the idea of using alia’s. I sometimes use numbers, but that is not exciting. This year we double wrapped some gifts so that the real receiver did not know it was their gift. Thanks for your ideas! I put a reference to your site via my posting today. Have a Great New Year.


  13. I love the Reindeer code . . .that sounds like a great idea. A few years ago we started using a number code. As I wrap the presents I start assigning numbers. I keep a list of what is wrapped and who it is to. Then on Christmas morning I use the list to help pass out presents. I think I like your idea better. My sister uses a different number code. She assigns a four digit number to each of her kids . . .they have no idea who is what number . . .I will have to tell her about your tradition. Love it!
    Emily SHS

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