Wake Up! It's Christmas!

These kids were even more excited when they were told this guy would be breaking into their house in the middle of the night.
Here’s a confession for you: I’m 52-years-old and I still can barely sleep on Christmas Eve, I get so excited. It doesn’t matter if I know for a fact that I’m not getting anything - not a single present - although I don’t think that’s ever happened. It’s not about the presents. I just get so freaking excited about the idea of Christmas morning. You know, the joy, good cheer, much mistletoeing and hearts all aglowing, and all that. Peanut butter fudge for breakfast doesn’t hurt, either.

Last night was no exception. Sure, I fell asleep about two-thirds of the way through The Other Guys, which was one of the Christmas-Eve-Open-Up gifts that my son and my daughter both bought each other. I was excited right up until I weakly laughed at the last Prius joke and then closed my eyes. My husband woke me up to tell me that he had turned off the penguins outside. Then I got into bed and I did what I do every Christmas Eve: I lay there with butterflies fluttering around my heart area and resisted the urge to get up and fool with the clocks and tell the kids it’s time to get up! It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!

When I was growing up, we we didn’t have our own alarm clocks, but we somehow managed to get up around 4 a.m. Sometimes we had help from my grandfather, who, legend has it, waited until my parents finally finished assembling and wrapping at about 3:45 and then tiptoed into our bedrooms and said, “Hey you guys, get up! I think Santa just left.”

Christmas was certainly something to get excited about back then. Someone always got a doll and someone always got something big like a sled. I thought I was the luckiest little girl in the tri-state area the year I got Tutti and Todd and a couple outfits to go with them. There were rumors about some rich kids who got ponies and pink princess phones for their bedrooms, but I didn’t really think they could possibly be as lucky as me.

We weren’t Jewish or Catholic, but we had a mutant Irish-German Guilt Gene that made it impossible to enjoy our Tutti-and-Todd-rich bounty without feeling bad for all the kids who didn’t get small bendable dolls with accessories. I may have been fuzzy about the little rich kids, but I was keenly aware that there were children poorer than us. I had some help in this area from my brother.

Jeff, who by the time I was 5 or 6 and he was 15 or 16, had honed to a lean mean perfection machine the art of screwing with four sisters, used to stand up about halfway through our gift-opening extravaganza on Christmas morning and say, “Oh, hey, let me close these drapes. We don’t want some little poor kids to see us opening all these presents, if they’re not getting any.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Christmas Joy just took a nosedive. It’s plummeting fast. But wait! It looks like it’s coming back up. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Christmas Joy has rebounded with the help of Mrs. Beasley and a Vac-U-Form!

Incidentally, my brother used to open up that same big old can of feelbad every time we were driving and would turn around in someone’s driveway. “I hope the little old lady who lives here doesn’t see us. She’s probably getting all excited that someone’s coming to visit her.” Yes, this is what I had to put up with growing up.

It would take more than a social conscience to ruin Christmas for me. I’ve perfected the art of staving off guilt and keeping the excitement alive right up to Christmas Day.

As I write this on Christmas morning, the kids are still in bed. In a tough round of negotiations last night, we signed a conciliation agreement to start the day at 9:30 a.m. My son started the deliberations by offering 8 a.m. My daughter countered with 12 noon. My husband kept reminiscing about the days when we would get up at 4 a.m. “Wasn’t that fun?” Yes, yes it was fun. I miss those days, although if I need a reminder that that’s ancient history, I only need to look under our tree. No sleds, no doll houses.  It looks like someone shook the tree and a bunch of gift cards fell out.

Still, I can’t wait for the kids to get up and start opening them.

Merry Christmas to all who are reading this. I hope your holiday is filled with much joy, good cheer, mistletoeing and hearts all aglowing!

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