I seem to recall a couple of childhood Christmases where we opened presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day, but those were the exception, not the rule.
Normally we would open just one present on Christmas Eve, then try in vain to get to sleep. When I was in high school, I took to sitting up all night listening to the Christmas program on the local top 40 station. From midnight Christmas Eve to 6:00 AM Christmas morning, then again from 6:00 AM to noon, they would have a program of “modern” Christmas music (this was my introduction to the Kink’s “Father Christmas” and the Christmas song from “Tommy”) and Dr. Demento-type parody songs, plus traditional music and sound clips from different Christmas TV programs and movies.
Christmas morning, we would usually sleep in because we’d end up falling asleep so late we’d be pooped. It might have been all of about 7:00 when we got up, but my sister and I would get up first and look in our Christmas stockings while mom and dad tried desperately to get a few more minutes of sleep. When we’d eaten all the candy and scratched all the lottery tickets in our stockings, then we’d start clamoring for the real presents under the tree and mom and dad would eventually give up and come in.
I don’t think we ever really ate breakfast on Christmas morning. We’d nibble on candy and cookies all morning while mom worked on dinner, which we’d usually eat around 2:00 or 4:00 or whenever it was ready. Christmas night would feel so anticlimactic. The presents were open, the food was eaten, the anticipation was over. It was a real let down. I remember crying one year because I got exactly what I wanted (the Decepticon Starscream) so the thrill of waiting and hoping and anticipating was over. Playing with the damn thing wasn’t as fun as wishing for it. (Plus the Transformers never transformed as easily in real life as they did in the cartoons.) Ah, youth.
“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy
The Kat House
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