Dec 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

My family - like many families - allowed the children to open one present on Christmas Eve.  It was intended to placate us as our anxiety levels peaked by giving us a new toy, book or garment and distract us until bedtime.

My husband tells of his childhood Christmas Eves, when his father couldn't stand to wait for Christmas morning, either.  So he let his children open ALL their presents the night before.  At first I rejected this unorthodox approach, but the older I get, the more I like it:
  1. No more agonizingly slow Christmas Eves spent trying to keep the kids occupied and entertained until bedtime.
  2. No more 2 a.m. "I can't sleep" whispers from children who simply can't stand to wait until sunrise, or squirmy children lying in their parent's bed, counting down the hours and minutes.
  3. No more stumbling to the den at dawn's first light, trying to match your children's enthusiasm without benefit of caffeine.
  4. No more "bed head" shots of the family opening gifts, captured for posterity. 
Our children are now past the age of pre-dawn gift openings.  In fact, last Christmas, Mr. Official and I were the first ones up and we watched an entire movie on our new blue-ray DVD player (our gift to ourselves), sipped a couple cups of coffee, and finally woke our kids to get Christmas day started before noon.

My father-in-law (the instigator of the Christmas Eve gift opening ritual) has been gone from us for a number of years. But the tradition lives on--we gather at my mother-in-law's house for dinner, and a gift exchange.   It's a fun evening to catch up with the siblings, inlaws and outlaws.  We laugh too much, talk too much, eat too much and eventually part ways, promising to get together more often in the new year.

Whatever your traditions are, I hope your season is merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

Happy holidays