I actually like Christmas Eve better than Christmas. For one thing, my three sons are usually compliant about going to bed because they want to make it as easy as possible for Santa. They know he won’t come if they’re awake.
What seals the deal for us is the “Reindeer Food” we get every year from a friend at church.
I read the “directions for use” out loud to my boys. “Prior to going to bed, sprinkle the reindeer food on the ground. Run back into the house, brush your teeth, say your prayers and jump into bed. Go right to sleep.”
It’s the one night a year I don’t have to argue with them about 8:00 bedtime. Grown up time, at last!
All is calm.
Another thing is, there’s a certain feeling of contentment in knowing that I have done all there is to do – or at least all that can be done. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. The gifts and cards are sent out, and the ones that aren’t will become New Year’s greetings. The frenzy of the previous weeks – list making, purchasing, organizing, hiding, baking, planning, executing…everything – is done, whether it’s done as planned or not (especially given this year with the recent storms, power outages, and school cancellations that thwarted much of my final preparations). The clock has run down.
All is bright.
To me, Christmas Eve is the high point prior to the denouement that the actual holiday is. I try not to think about the fact that the gift opening lasts merely minutes followed closely by the burrowing through wrapping paper, hunting hopefully for something that just might have been overlooked. Then comes the bouncing off the walls, arguing, grabbing, and demanding to know when our extended family is coming over with more presents.
Sleep in heavenly peace
The house is clean and quiet. Church was attended. The cookies and note for Santa are left on the table. I take a picture of the tree with the gifts under it, decorated on the top half only by this time, as is the tree in any household with young children who like to pull off anything within reach, sometimes leaving dirty socks or empty juice boxes instead.
I know that my admonition to wait until it’s light out before we get up fell on deaf ears, so I can’t stay up too late. If the clock on the wall next to the tree (which is always included in my picture) reads 10:30, I’m doing alright.
I bask in the tranquil moments I as I share some of Santa’s cookies, and survey the slim tree snug in the corner of our smallish dining room. At last, all is well.
Sleep in heavenly peace.