I am so fortunate to have married a man who LOVES Christmas. He was raised by a mother who loves Christmas and it was passed down to him. My absolute best Christmas EVER was the first year we were married because he showed me what a wonderful holiday it could be. This is what my Christmases were like growing up:
There were four of us kids and very close in age (4 1/2 years between my older brother and younger brother, with my sister and I wedged in between.) On Christmas morning my older brother (Sorry, Steve, you know I love you now but you really were horrible to do this) would wake up somewhere between 1am and 3am and go downstairs to the living room. Our gifts were NEVER wrapped - NONE of them. There were just four piles of stuff, one in each corner of the room. I do remember there being a piece of paper with a name propped up in front of each pile one year, but I think most of the time we just had to figure out which pile was for who.
So Steve would go downstairs and rifle through each pile to see what all of us got and then after he got tired of being alone, he would come up to our beds and wake us up by telling us exactly what we got. How's that for a nice way to wake up on Christmas morning/night? I remember really wanting to stay in bed because it was always before 4am that he woke me up, but I felt I would have to go downstairs to at least protect my stuff from him. (This stems from him doing the same thing with our Easter baskets and actually losing a part to one of my Easter toys one year.) I think my parents finally got up around 7am and by then all the gifts had been gone through. I'm sure this ritual was no fun for them either, but as a parent now I wonder why they didn't take control of it by either wrapping the gifts or forbidding him to go downstairs until a decent hour of the morning when we could all go down together. At any rate, this is why I never really enjoyed Christmas all that much.
My dad enjoyed it even less, especially because although my mom obviously saved money on wrapping paper, she overspent on toys, toys and more toys. So when I was probably around 11 years old, my dad "cancelled" Christmas and we were only allowed 2-3 items after that. I'm not sure I missed getting all the stuff because I was just thankful to actually get some SLEEP!
Back with a more cheery post on "Christmas Present" in my home with 4 little boys (some pics, too!)....