My Facebook and Twitter feed were awash with people exalting in the fact their kids got up before 5am on Christmas day and revelling in everything that I find a nightmare. Some people wouldn’t have it any other way- not me though.
I think it comes down to stress. Stress about managing expectations, stress about everyone being happy, stress about everyone being well and stress about things going wrong. I don’t like getting woken up after 5 hours sleep, and I don’t like having to go to bed much later on Christmas Eve than I normally would to make sure the kids are all asleep.
Personally I much prefer Boxing Day. It’s like Christmas day but without the burden of expectation. We see whichever set of the kids grandparents we didn’t see on Christmas day on Boxing day and it’s so much more relaxing because it’s a come down day from the unrealistic expectations of the big day.
This year, like every other year, the kids managed to have a good time, without any tears or upset, so it’s probably (definitely) me. It’s probably down to a couple of disappointing and memorable Christmas’ I had when I was little. There was one year where all I wanted was a selection of Doctor Who books- a mixture of novels and reference guides (Peter Hanning was the go to person for reference guides back then)- but I only got two of them, and a load of other stuff that sat unopened. Novelty cassette holders, pointless stationery, irrelevant toys, all stuff bought with the best of intentions but stuff I didn’t want and hadn’t asked for. I was a good boy though, and I hid my crushing disappointment and made my parents happy.
Don’t think I’ve ever got over that, and looking back it seems really churlish and spoilt doesn’t it? I know my parents meant well but being utterly Doctor Who obsessed, I knew what I wanted and their worry that I would be bored with nothing but books was unfounded. I know have the same worries, worries that I won’t understand what my kids want and I’ll disappoint them. We don’t spend very much on them at Christmas, certainly not in comparison to a lot of people I know, so I feel the pressure to make every penny count.