We had a tradition on the night of Christmas Eve Eve.
At midnight one of us would do the rounds with one of the toy Santa’s decorating the house. One that had a bell that tinkled.
Or maybe the talking Christmas Tree that went “Ho Ho Ho” before singing “Jingle Bell Rock”.
And as we went in and out of the children’s bedrooms we would be calling “Ho Ho Ho .. it’s Christmas Eve Eve … Ho Ho Ho .. it’s Christmas Eve Eve … “ And four bleary-eyed children would stumble downstairs where they each opened a chocolate selection box from under the tree and munched – along with hot chocolate brewed in a pan on the stove. And when they were suitably sleep deprived – and bouncing off the ceiling – we all went back to bed.
Leaving Christmas Eve night stockings at the end of the beds goes through phases of “easy -> difficult”:
a) EASY Too tiny to know
b) EASY Tiny but asleep really early
c) USUALLY EASY Small and excited but asleep quickly
d) TRICKY Larger and excited and asleep late
e) IMPOSSIBLE Larger and excited and liable not to be asleep at all
This Christmas Eve Eve tradition began life around stage “e” (with some still at stage ”d” and one at stage “c”). It was a way of having them all roll into Christmas Eve night more tired than usual – so they might just get to sleep faster – and stay asleep longer – which might give us both – mum and dad – the chance to get some sleep of our own (before the rustling began from 3.00am onwards).
The thing about traditions (that are fun) is that they become an “excitement cranker” in their own right. And this was great fun! So all it did – most wonderfully – was to increase the excitement-level without increasing by one second our children’s Christmas Eve night sleep patterns! And because it was a “tradition” it could not be quietly dropped in favour of just “sleeping”.
The children have all grown up and moved our now. But this morning around 3.00am, as I rolled over I heard my wife whisper: “It’s Christmas Eve Eve.” And then we both dropped off again.
Christmas Eve Eve.
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Excitement and fun does not require vast sums of money or elaborate plans. Despite Christmas almost being upon us, the big excitement right now in our house of grandchildren are these:
The turtle is several years old, and the torch batteries have almost run out. None of that matters. Light over darkness. Darkness into light. Light where darkness is.
Under the table, under a blanket, outside with all the Christmas lights, on the way home counting all the Christmas lights, in the bedroom watching the turtle stars, anywhere at all really – when the sun goes down (early) and the darkness allows light to be “light”.
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There may be some theology in there …
But the little children don’t need it (and us adults are too busy enjoying all the fun)!
Happy Christmas Eve Eve