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08 February 2024

The Kit You Need To Have On Hand For Christmas and Birthdays

When you become a parent a little organisation goes a long way. Gone are the days where you can quickly pop out to the shops to get something and children aren't known for their patience. Picture the scene: it's your child's birthday and after ripping the paper off their presents they want to play with one of them now! First you have to get it out of the box which might require scissors or even a screwdriver and then you discover it needs batteries so you have to find those, and then you definitely will need a screwdriver to get those installed. It might just take a few minutes, but for an excited child on their birthday it can feel like hours. Whether it's Christmas Eve or the day before their birthday, make sure that once the last present is wrapped that you have everything to hand in one place to make present opening goes to plan. 

The items you need to make sure present opening is focused on the presents rather than frustrations
A little preparation helps Birthdays and Christmas go more smoothly

Your Present Opening Toolkit For Christmas and Birthdays

If Birthday's and Christmas morning in your house is a flurry of wrapping paper and squeals of delight from young children, you’ll know how magical this family time is. Make sure to keep the magic alive and have certain items to hand to make the morning go more smoothly. I always have the following to hand at when it's time for present opening:

Recycling and bin bags

Make sure that envelopes, used wrapping paper and packaging are tidied away as quickly as possible. This helps make sure new gifts aren't accidentally trodden on and makes it easier to get around. Wrapping paper is increasingly recyclable (do the scrunch test to find out), but ideally tape and ribbons need to be removed. Larger pieces might also be suitable to put aside to reuse in the future. If it is hectic you can always stuff it in one bag and sort it out later.  


Even if all the presents are successfully ripped open you still have to get into the packaging and toys can be surprisingly well secured into the boxes. Avoid sore fingers and frustrations by having scissors on hand. Children's scissors can be a good idea if your child is old enough and is likely to want to cut through the tape themselves.


It's a pro parenting move to check presents before wrapping to find out which batteries are required and how many, but for gifts from others you'll want to have a range of the most common batteries for children's toys. 

AA batteries - bulk buy to save money
AAA batteries - bulk buy to save money
D batteries - these are required less often and it can be worth getting rechargeables
Cell batteries - where these are required they will come in the toy already, but they can run out quickly so we always have some LR44 as back up. There are safety concerns about cell batteries and they can be extremely dangerous if swallowed so make sure they are always kept out of reach of children.

I love rechargeables and hate how many batteries we throw away, but when you have lots of toys it can be too expensive for most people to use rechargeables in everything. We have a multi battery charger and one set of rechargeables for AA, AAA and D. Make sure you keep a note of what you put them in or they can quickly disappear.


All children's toys that require batteries have the battery compartment screwed shut for safety reasons (or are sealed and can't be replaced). We have also had toys secured into the cardboard packaging with screws and some toys require assembly too so it's definitely a good idea to have a range of screwdrivers available.

Mini screwdriver set - one of the most useful things to come in a cracker or you can buy sets here.
Flathead screwdriver - like this one.
Phillips or crosshead screwdriver - like this one.

Notepad and pen

Even if your children are old enough to write their own thank you letters they will probably need you to remind them who gave them what. If there are lots of presents you will thank yourself later if you write a list whether on paper or on your phone. For birthday presents from friends (like after a birthday party) I like to take a photo of the open card next to the present so I can see who gave what, this is much faster than writing.
A pen is also really helpful if you have siblings who receive identical gifts because you can initial them to identify who each one belongs to. 

Zip Lock Bags

I hate to use single use food bags for food, but they can be really handy for storing small parts of toys so they don't get lost. Choose ones that can be resealed easily for ultimate convenience.

You might also want to have cellotape and blue tac to put cards up or fix any accidental rips.

Having these items to hand will mean that your children can get stuck into their new toys straight away, rather than having to wait ages for them to be set up. Don’t forget that you may wish to set up and stage certain toys, such as large items like dolls houses, rather than wrapping them!

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