Christmas Eve Is So Much More Fun As A Parent
Let me describe a typical Christmas Eve when I was a kid. After spending the evening shaking and rattling every package with our name on it, my siblings and I would sit around and invariably blurt out whatever trinket we had bought for each other. Then, once we had given away ever secret we knew, my brother, sister and I would join forces to pester our mother into letting us open one present. Looking back, I’m sure she would have let us even if we didn’t whine and plead for an hour ahead of time. Somewhere around 9:00, my dad would read us Twas The Night Before Christmas. I use the term “read” loosely because he’s had it memorized for decades now. And finally, we would climb up the stairs to our rooms and spend the next 10 hours staring at the clock and begging it to go faster. Honestly, that night was like torture. Tense, anxious, excited torture.
But now, as an adult, Christmas Eve is amazing. Just like my mother did a couple decades ago, I let my daughter pick out one present to open ahead of time. But no, it can’t be the biggest one under the tree. Then, my daughter picks up her Hallmark recordable book, so that she can listen to Poppa read the story just like Mommy did. (By the way, those books are amazing. I highly recommend them.) And once I tuck my dear little girl into bed, knowing that she’ll lay there with her eyes open for hours to come, I pull out the corniest Christmas movie I can find and curl up with my husband. We add a little Bailey’s to our hot cocoa, munch on those fresh-baked cookies we just set out and finish up any wrapping left. We arrange the tree and showcase the presents, setting the scene for our daughter’s magical morning.
As a child, I could not comprehend how my parents slept past 5am. It honestly didn’t make any sense at all, that they could be relaxed and content with all those presents just begging to be opened. Now, it’s my turn to sleep in, letting my daughter count the seconds until 7am, when she’s allowed to come in and wake me up.
For adults, Christmas Eve is exciting in a whole new way. And in our house, it’s a night where my husband and I can sit in front of the fire and appreciate the family we’ve built. For us, the night isn’t about impatience over the presents we’ll receive, it’s a warm anticipation for the smiling face of our daughter when she rips open those packages. This night of childhood torture (okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but it felt like it) has become an evening to build our own traditions as parents. I have to admit, my daughter my love Christmas Eve a bit more if she got to stay up with a warm drink and cuddle until midnight. It’s times like this that I’m glad to be an adult.
Do you and your spouse have a Christmas Eve routine? What special traditions have you established for Santa Claus’s big night?