On Christmas Eve, just as it gets dark, we gather around the Christmas tree at my grandma's house, and we sing and open gifts. We call this "Having the tree." All day long kids are asking "when are we having the tree?" which sounds really funny now that I think about it. It sounds like the tree will be dinner.
I know we asked a lot about tree time when we were kids too. But I also remember wanting to stretch out the day. It seemed like a shame to hurry the day away just to reach the present stage, as the holiday was always completely over before I knew it. Also, if too many kids asked this question, we were told to go outside. There was a big slew of us, and I imagine we were in the way of cooking and wrapping, etc.
Some of the gang...
I remember one year we occupied ourselves for a couple hours in my grandpa's little metal boat on the side of the house. We all got inside it and pretended to sail around. Some of us were thrown off the boat, and we swam on the side asking for another chance. One cousin dangled the other over the edge to be eaten by sharks. The sky was gray, and it was kind of cold, and I remember looking over at the side window and seeing the adults moving around in the kitchen.
These hours are really vivid in my head because senses were heightened that day --- after all, somewhere across the world Santa was already in the air. Magic.
On Christmas Eve now I think of 2000 other things, having a hard time staying in the moment. It would be nice to just focus on sharks and Santa. Both are terrifying, ha.
I can remember thinking how cool it would be to actually catch a glimpse of Santa during the night, and then thinking ooooooh maybe not. He's so jolly and cute --- not sure why the thought of accidentally seeing him was scary, but it's cool that the idea of busting him could stir up such a big feeling.
I remember once hearing the Easter Bunny rustling some candy wrappers a couple feet from me. There was my one opportunity to look at him, but I shut my eyes more tightly and pretended to keep sleeping. The horror!