Depending on the age of your little dudes, Christmas is a vastly different experience.
In general, the younger the little dudette, the earlier you get to awaken on Christmas morning. I used to be able to count on no more than six hours of sleep between Christmas Eve and Morning, if I was a very lucky dude, mostly because I had to stay up a little later to make sure and “help” Santa distribute presents and stuff stockings.
In the mornings, we’d hear the pounding of little feet racing back and forth in the hallway upstairs and one little dude ran to the bedroom of the next little dude, who ran to the next. And then they all tried to sneak downstairs with the subtlety of a meth-crazed elephant putting out flaming ducks*.
As they get older, things. . . change.
Since the youngest little dude now is 14, an official teenager, we’re not faced with such appallingly early wake-up times most days. In fact, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Her Beauty Sleep If I Know What’s Good For Me, and I were able to get up on our own around 8 in the morning, walk the dog and still sit down to share a bit of that instant Christmas classic: Breaking Bad. (Because nothing says Christmas like the story of a milquetoast chemistry professor turning into an ego-crazed, blood-soaked methamphetamine dealer with delusions of grandeur.)
Instead of racing down the stairs, the young dudes stumbled downstairs, slowly, peering around with sleep-clogged eyes, running hands through tousled hair and croaking through coma mouth in a ritualistic, “Ugh. mumblemumble-orning mumblemumble.”
I won’t say the young dudes actually took their time opening presents, letting each person go in turn, remarking on the wonderful way Aunt Someone took the time to pick out just the right shade of puce for the sweater she knitted each of them. Still, there were occasional pauses in there that didn’t come from them accidentally inhaling a floating piece of impromptu confetti drifting through the air.
Christmas coming right before the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, offers the perfect time for reflection, for considering how things have changed. I’m not one to focus on the past, to talk about how things were always better when I was younger, or when the young dudes were, in fact, young, but it is interesting to see how they have adapted to the passing years.
It’s taking these moments of reflection that enable parents to come to terms with the fact that, while they’re horrifyingly impersonal as gifts, teenagers really do want gift cards so they can get exactly what they want for themselves. I wish it weren’t the case, but there it is.
Time, as is its wont, passes. The black pencil writes and, having writ, passes on. Stuff happens.
And you will not be able to stop it, so you’d better find a way to enjoy it. The sooner the better, dudes. The sooner the better.