October 20, 2017

Candy Cane Trail (special Christmas morning tradition)


Slow Down Christmas Morning and Savor it with this fun tradition idea.

Traditions are meant to last!

Most kids crave novelty – the newest video game, the greatest CD-ROM, the biggest Christmas tree, the latest, greatest…
But at holidays, they are transformed from thrill seekers to traditionalists.

If your family has done it before, your kids will want to do it again.

I call it the “we all” of family.

We always do this for “the holidays.” There’s something reassuring about traditions. In a world where nearly everything is disposable, traditions remind us that some things were meant to last.

I have shared many unique tradition ideas that do everything from bring together faraway relatives to kindle the spirit of giving, so hopefully this year, if you’re stressing over finding the perfect gift, why not try a new tradition instead.

Unlike most presents, they’re inexpensive, they need no wrapping and will last nearly forever.

Candy Cane Trail

When you envision Christmas morning, what do you see, hear, and smell? What expectations do you have? What are the memories that you want to solidify every year?

Do you have a plan?

For some of us with children, our Dickens Christmas comes to an end within minutes. Our children tear through presents like the Indy 500 without so much as a thank you. They want to know which present is next…now, or may even grumble (gasp) when things don’t go quite their way…As much as we may chuckle at that scenario, it is quite often, oh, too real.

One of our most memorable Christmas mornings was created by stretching out the gift opening throughout the whole day. We literally did only 2 presents an hour (not each child…just two presents) and had activities mixed in throughout the morning. It was peaceful, the kids actually played with each toy as they opened it or celebrated what their sibling received. And we were able to slow down, and focused on the things that really mattered – being together celebrating our Savior’s birth. It was magical.Here is an idea of how to put that new slant on your Christmas morning with the kids or grand kids.

This can even be adapted if you are having a gathering with extended family.

Capture the magic of Christmas morning by creating a fun trail for your kids to follow when they first wake up. Purchase a box of wrapped candy canes and lay them on the floor guiding them through the house.

Leave a note at their doorway directing them to follow the candy can trail to “present pit stops” that have one present for them to open at each and spread it out throughout the morning.
Each “present pit stop” has a small note that Santa (or St. Nick or mom/dad) has left them with one nice thing that he saw them do that year.

Notes can include things like.
“You always know how to look on the bright side, and encourage others – keep up the good work” or “You are always the first to volunteer to help and that is a wonderful way to show you care for others.

Then have them open a present and have the next note include a fun activity – sing a carol, do a funny dance competition to your favorite funny Christmas song, read the Christmas story. Savor the time and when you dictate the morning anticipation, it becomes so much more meaningful.

More ideas? Spontaneous Christmas lights excursion


  1. What wonderful ideas! I am so glad I found your cute blog! I love the idea of the candy cane trail. I think I am going to adopt that one this year. I love how the presents are spaced out and Santa tells the kids what they have done nice that year before they open the present. Wonderful. Thanks so much!!!


  2. These are great ideas!

    I wish that my husband and I could come up with a tradition for Christmas. I haven’t been able to think of anything!


    laurie Reply:

    @Liz, a friend of mine posted this morning that they go to breakfast in their jammies on Christmas Eve – easy tradition to start !


  3. HeathahLee says:

    We love to bundle up in the car, go to Starbucks (the time to splurge!) and get the grown ups real coffee, Kiddo getting hot chocolate, and go to a neighborhood not far from where we live to look at the lights. It is a tradition we’ve done since before our son was born, and he expects it every year.

    Oh, and we also try to make it up to Graceland to see Elvis’s lights! : )

    Beautiful post, Jen!


  4. Wow..what wonderful ideas…I love the trail and pit stop…so great! My brain is thinking here NOW..it’s 5:20am but you have me rethinking the whole Christmas morning!
    -sandy toes


  5. Laura Ingalls Gunn says:

    Incredibly creative and wonderful ideas!


  6. cityfarmer says:

    Since you lost your mind, did you find it yet, my dear???

    I can still remember the smell of the tree in our humble living room ( with it’s Ethan Allen sofa)

    …my mom and dad paid a dollar for our tree most years…we would all pack up in the Plymouth sation wagon and drive a mile into town….the trees were all packed into the parking of the local hardware ….big fat bulb lights strung from corner to corner…ahhhhh yeah, alot of you remember, too, right??

    We would each receive one beautiful gift (there were 5 of us) and what my folks would have spent on MORE gifts would instead go into the offering plate on Christmas eve for the mission fund at church. There was never a mention of Santa…did not even realize what we were missing out on. Now my kids and their kids carry that baton.

    My Dad is still to this day convicted about worshipping the Father instead of the gifts…their convictions have been passed down and have convicted all 5 of us, too.
    We have truly disconnected with the retail, mall, shop till you drop theory..There is so much peace and tranquility….it abounds … …we focus on the Father and the Food.

    It’s amazing how different things are from home to home…Yours sounds wonderful and cozy

    Merry Christmas to you dear friend…hope to chat next week.


  7. mollyandmarshal says:

    Your ideas are great! Traditions are so important, I love yours!


  8. Fabulous ideas, thanks so much for sharing them with us!


  9. Gina @ Six in the Country says:

    I love the candy cane trail. We often do a savanger hunt for really big presents on special Christmas mornings. This would be a great alternative!


  10. I love the candy cane trail idea! I can’t wait until my son is old enough to try this one! I do agree we tend to rush through the opening the presents part and forget it’s actually about being with family and of course the reason for the season, JESUS!


  11. Gorgeous ideas! I particularly love the one about leaving a note congratulating the kids on good behaviour. Living in Australia, our Christmas morning traditions usually entail swimming and eating lots of mangoes and seafood – which must sound very strange to you who are in the depths of winter. And yes, we still sing along to Winter Wonderland and White Christmas without a hint of irony. It’s tradition!


  12. The candy cane idea was great! Thanks


  13. Ruby Red Slippers says:

    Great ideas! We are all about the Christmas traditions-my mom was big on them, and I think they leave a lasting memory…


  14. Such lovely ideas! We definitely need to slow down our Christmas mornings. Thanks for the great suggestions. laurie


  15. I popped in by way of Kimba’s blog party and I’m glad I did. These are wonderful ideas! Thankyou for sharing them.


  16. honeysuckle says:

    Some great ideas! I especailly like the remembering others with a candle at a certain time. I will have to incorporated that into my plans for next year. Thanks.


  17. Terrific ideas – I love the candy cane trail! The treasure box is such a lovely idea. Thanks.


  18. beth at aunties says:

    I am so happy I hopped over to see what you ahd going on this morning!
    Traditions is what builds and keeps families strong and eternal! Our kids are grown with our last married a week ago and it is the traditions which they remember most:)
    I love how you made it a point of putting CHRIST back into the gift opening and got rid of the Indy 500! Great term!

    Merry CHRISTmas!


  19. PamperingBeki says:

    These are such great ideas, Jen!


  20. Jami @ livelaughlove5 says:

    Jen – I LOVE the candy cane chain idea. I think I’m going to implement it this year! Thanks a bunch!


  21. Thanks Jen for all the great ideas. You rock!


  22. Musings of a Homeschooling Mom says:

    I love ALL of the ideas, Jen! Thanks for sharing them. I love the idea of spreading the presents out. We might try that this year. It seems like there is so much anticipation then there’s a crash after everything is opened.


  23. We LOVE traditions so much around here. And christmas morning is about everything BUT ripping into presents as quickly as we can. It literally takes us until lunch time…or longer to get through all our stuff. So FUN!


  24. What a beautiful idea! I remember as a child ripping through my gifts and being so joyful over just that! Although, I was raised in a secular home so I’m not sure what I was celebrating ;). I’m looking forward to Christmases with my son and teaching him about Jesus. I really, really like the encouraging notes and spreading the gifts out – thank you for sharing!



  1. […] want to do some of them with mine.  I’d love to try out something she mentions in the “Candy Cane Trail” post – only opening a few presents per hour.  I’d love to slow down the whole […]

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