DIY gift numbering

I wasn’t an overly sneaky kid, never once did I secretly unwrap gifts for a peek! Promise. I was however an eager gift-shaker. And a great guesser. By Christmas morning I had a pretty good idea of what treasures were coming my way. So my clever Mom came up with a plan: she numbered all the gifts and kept a master list of the numbers, who it belonged to and what the gift was. Smarty pants!

Not only did it work like a charm (I had no clue which gift was mine, no matter how hard I shook!) but it created such an eventful Christmas morning for our little family. Opening gifts with the number system is quite the process! I would call out “Number 7! Who gets number seven?!”. We then opened gifts — one gift, one number at a time. No ripping into a pile of presents in matter of minutes leaving everyone a bit bewildered.

Now that I am a mom of three curious kids of my own, I gave my mom’s “Numbering System” a spin last Christmas. It was better than I remembered! My kids appreciated the time and attention they got in opening each gift, a moment in the spotlight! I appreciated all those little moments & bright smiles as my kids slowly opened their gifts. Mom’s numbering system is a hit and has now become a new tradition for my own little family.

Here’s the scoop:

1. Start a master list & keep it in a secret spot. If your kids  find it, it’s a major fail.

2. As you wrap gifts assign each gift a number. My mom used to write  the number on the giftwrap of the wrapped gift with a sharpie. You could print out numbers, write on gift tags or use white office sticker dots as I did.

3. Correspond the number on the gift with the same number on your list, making note of the recipient and the contents if you wish.

4. Since I do the majority of the gift shopping, I am master of the master list – Don’t loose it! You’ll need it on Christmas morning to answer “Eliot! Gift number 7 is for Eliot!”

What fun ways do you keep gifts a surprise on Christmas morning?

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  1. My parents did this for a few years, but my dad killed it the year he assigned each kid a certain problem, like my brother was all prime numbers, I was numbers that represented the ages in my family, my sister’s gifts had numbers that were multiples of 4 or something like that -yeah, there were audible groans when we heard we had to do math on Christmas morning to find the rest of our presents, lol!
    Another trick was to follow a set of clues. My sister and I followed a trail of clues one Christmas Day that lead to matching suitcases (too big to wrap and fit under the tree).

  2. Oooh, great idea!! I’m going to do this – present-wrapping is on my list of things to do today!

  3. As someone who almost always knew her gifts before Christmas morning, I think this is a great idea!

  4. I guess I’m just lucky that my kids don’t peek and they don’t dare open until we are all up and then they know it’s one at a time anyway! Our Christmas morning gift opening takes a couple of hours this way, with breakfast thrown in the middle of it, and is so much fun. I think the numbering would add more suspense though!

  5. My mom made us open one at a time AND write the thank you note before we could move on. It was torture. I like this number system!

  6. This is a wonderful idea! Will definitely keep this idea for when I have little ones of my own!

  7. I heard a story of a family that had a strap of ‘reindeer bells’ and the strap hung on the tree. Each time a gift arrived the family member who brought the gift would ring the reindeer bells signalling the family to come gather around to find out who the gift would grace!

  8. My mom used to do this — and then she lost the list one year and we were stuck opening the gifts and passing them around to the correct person.

  9. One year we switched names. We had 3 kids at the time, and they didn’t know it, but the presents with their name on it actually their younger sibling’s gifts. They were NOT happy about that ONE BIT! It was meant to be funny, and hubby and I had a good time, but they begged us to never do it again!

  10. My Mom once wrapped each kids presents in a coordinating color with out the name tags. example. all of mine were in a red type of wrapping, my brothers was in a green and my sister’s was in a blue. All the wrapping was different, but as long as the main color was that of our assigned color, it was ours

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