When I was in my late 20s, my parents put my stocking at the end of my bed on Christmas Eve. This is the same thing that happened when I was six. And when I was 16. It was the same thing that happened every year.
And every year, I’d pretend to be asleep as they did it. Because I, like many others of you out there, have never been able to sleep on December 24.
This condition is both a blessing and a curse. I loved listening to my parents clean up after our Christmas Eve party. I loved listening to Christmas shows from my room as they busied themselves arranging gifts. I loved the challenge of pretending to be asleep enough that they’d venture into my room to put a stocking on my bed.
But I hated the hours that followed the facade. Because those hours were absolutely unbearable.
As an “adult” I’m still unable to sleep on Christmas Eve. I’ve done a decent job convincing myself this is because I “can’t wait to see the looks on my children’s faces” when they run downstairs themselves to look at gifts, but deep down I know I’m still five-years-old.
And I know there are more of you out there, and I know I can help get you through the hours of 1 to 5 a.m., the hours researchers have determined to be the most difficult to get through for kids and parents alike on Christmas morning.
This is foundational work that will come in hand as you try to push buttons throughout the night to hit that exact time. Take their first offering as a jumping off point and try to get down an hour. So if they say 7 a.m., fight for 6 a.m. Don’t get too greedy though or they’ll take it all back and make it 8 a.m.
I know you don’t want to but thinking straight requires sleep. Get an hour if you can.
More importantly, make sure that watch is set AT LEAST two hours ahead. People who aren’t used to getting up early on Christmas are so easily fooled. And people in general love getting gifts. So, combine the two things and as they start to doze off on Christmas eve, casually roll over in bed, give them your romantic eyes and give them a box with a dollar store watch in it. Whether they like the gift or not is irrelevant. Even if they throw it in the garbage, it’ll still be close enough to wake them up when the alarm goes off at fake 7 a.m.
You’ve prepared for this. You’re going to worry that waking up your partner too early will make them mad at you for the whole day. You’re still waking up and your brain is a bit muddled. Spend some time thinking about the smiles on the faces of your children when they see Santa came. They’ll get over waking up early. The anger won’t last all day.
If you whine about not having anything to do on Christmas morning for long enough, eventually your partner will realize you need reading material in your Christmas stocking or on the end of your bed, or however you do your Christmas tradition gift-giving.
So, read your book, but remember, the concept of time and space doesn’t apply the same way on Christmas morning. You need about five books to fill the time one page would cover at any other time of the year.
Yeah, this means finding ways to wake up your kids without your partner knowing you’re actively waking up your kids. This could mean hitting that squeaky floorboard on the way to the bathroom or rolling over on the side of the bed you’d normally try to avoid at all costs.
If you were about to fly south on a vacation, this would be an acceptable time to wake up with the kids. Why should today be any different? Well, other than the fact that you earlier negotiated an earliest case wake up time. Still, be bold, there are many other adults awake around the world, be a leader not a follower.
Most important piece of your elaborate puzzle. What rational adult would turn down a freshly brewed coffee?
Can be as little as one piece of bacon but the smell must waft. Catch some smell in a bottle and put it outside the bedroom door if you must but get the bacon smell to your partner’s nose. They’ll be horrified when they realize there’s but one piece of bacon to share amongst the family, but they’ll be up.
By this point it’s too late. There are now multiple family members jumping up and down with excitement and even though your partner looks back towards the stairs that lead to their bed, they know they’ll never get there.
So, it’s 5:30, are you up?