Five Things to Make Christmas Morning Brighter

Christmas morning in our home growing up involved a plethora of waiting. Waiting for our parents to get dressed, waiting for the video camera to be set up, waiting for the bloody caesars to be stirred... I could go on. And all the waiting was part of the build up of anticipation, but it was also annoying, so in our house, we try our best to prepare as much as possible the day before so that we can all enjoy the morning as quick as possible. But yes, I'm under no illusion that our own children don't think we take forever too...

Here are five things to make your Christmas morning brighter and better for all:

Bake these muffins the night before Christmas. I've been baking these Cranberry Orange muffins on Christmas eve (and sometimes well into the early hours of Christmas morning) for years now. They are the perfect balance of sweet and bitter and look festive and taste great. I stack them on a cake platter the night before, cover them with saran and they are ready to go!

Premix a cocktail of orange juice and cranberry juice in a nice jug and stick it in the fridge along with a bottle of gingerale for the kids and anyone else who doesn't feel like champagne at 6 am in the morning (okay, it could be 5:30 am if I'm being honest with myself).  So yes, put the champagne in the fridge and buy a frozen pack of mixed berries and keep in the freezer.  Layer champagne flutes (or any pretty glassware - these are my favourites because they're festive but don't scream "only for Christmas") on a tray along with glass identifiers (we have some tacky suction cup ones). On Christmas morning, just pop the cork in the champagne, fill each glass with a few frozen berries and fill it 2/3 with the juice and 1/3 with the gingerale or champagne. We like to do a quick cheers and then get to the gifts!

Set up the tripod! Okay, maybe this is just as bad as me waiting for the video camera to be set up, but if I don't have the tripod and camera set up, I will forget to use them come Christmas morning and end up with a ton of blurry terribly lit photos. Don't have a tripod? I love this one for a DSLR or this one for an iPhone.

Preload the coffee maker. Grind the beans, pour the milk or cream into dishes and put them in the fridge. Put out the mugs, the sugar and the spoons. Personally I love filling a small microwave proof pitcher with milk so I can easily warm it up in the morning and froth it using our Ninja coffee maker's built in frother.

Find all your gifts. A few weeks ago this would have been embarrassing to admit, but I've recently seen a ton of you admit on instagram that you too struggle with night-before-christmas gift finding! This year I've put in place an elaborate system involving plastic bags and my closet. Okay, it's actually quite simple and I'm a tad annoyed with myself for taking this long to come up with it. I am pre-filling every stocking into its own grocery bag so that I don't have to go on my own scavenger hunt when I'd rather be watching a Christmas movie or baking muffins. I also recommend making a list of gifts you've purchased and hidden throughout the house that includes their specific location.

Bonus!! I love the instant freshness and slight coverage that this tinted moisturizer gives me. I follow with a little blush and boom, I don't look like I've tried too hard because it is 5:30 in the morning but I look like I care enough to wash my face before the festivities begin! Also, precook as much food as possible and set your table if you're hosting.

So tell me, do you have any tips to add to make Christmas morning more enjoyable?