I was asked by a friend this week to describe what Christmas Day is like for us with all the kids. I know it’s a bit early but the shops are flogging Christmas so I’ll tell the story of how our day goes:
Having four young kids has always made Christmas mornings a real evolution. This is compounded by the fact every year we go to my Brother-In-Law’s Mother’s house on Christmas Eve for an awesome extended dinner party with all that side of the family. This event sees the kids eating a wide range of food and drinking sugary drinks, followed by a late evening as we have to travel some distance to get home from the party.
Whilst the kids are struggling to work out whether their bodies are still wired from all the sugar or tired from the late night before, nothing will stop them getting up at first light on Christmas Day to go to the lounge and see what Santa has brought them. Admittedly they are all old enough now to know that Santa is not real. This is a milestone in the family as we don’t have to keep the older kids hiding this fact from the younger ones.
As the seconds tick over and they are all seated in the lounge waiting for Mum and I to get out of bed, lollies and chocolates are consumed from their stockings and debates rage over who might have what in which present. From under the tree all presents are sorted as labelled and each kid then decides which present will be opened first, then the next and the next until they have their last one, hoping that it is the big ultimate gift they have been wanting all year.
Once Mum is out of bed, the kids have to come in and drag me out. I stumble into the lounge, coffee in hand, and the carnage begins. Everyone furiously unwraps each present in the pre-determined order and are quick to show off each gift to all the others in the room throwing aside the wrapping paper to then open the next present. This process goes on for what seems like the blink of an eye as the kids have got this unwrapping thing all sorted. Once complete everyone sits back and takes deep breathes as if they have just run the 100m sprint. Paper is strewn everywhere. I try to maintain some order and worry about how the heck I am going to get all this paper and cardboard in the recycle bin which is already full and not due to be collected for another week.
All morning while eating more lollies and chocolates, the kids are playing and showing off their spoils. Batteries are required; we don’t have them. Bikes need to be put together and I don’t have the right tools and games are to be played all at the same time. I seem to collect more children as the morning goes on as the all the other kids in the neighbourhood drop in and go over what each has been given. My wife is in the kitchen furiously cooking the dish she has to take to my family’s lunch and we have to spend hours coaxing the kids to get ready and put away their favourite toy they won’t stop playing with. Inevitably it is the cheap couple of dollars present that they love the most.
We race out the door around lunchtime, late and unsure if we have everything to head to the first of many outings over the next few days. We are full of food and drink already, the kids are on a sugar high and dead tired at the same time but won’t stop talking. The car is full of presents that will get lost and broken over the next few hours, but the chaos and energy has been worth it. The kids are ecstatic and living their favourite day of the year and my wife and I are on holidays. We are off to another house where the kids will play and eat while we sit back and enjoy the company of family and friends.