Leaving Christmas presents until after dinner is ridiculous
“Has he been? It’s time? Can we still go down? When these questions finally meet a yes on Christmas morning, some poor souls stare at their gifts in the ribbons until the afternoon. How unbearably appropriate.
My family has never been one for super-early mornings; you know, the parents who resurrected from their tired sleep after falling asleep until the early hours – or once in my dad’s case, assembling a go-kart that was ridden once altogether – only so that their door slung open with Big Bird oomph and a sharp Slade print just hours later.
We can debate the right time to wake up on the most festive day of the year; some people walk right in at midnight, others come down the stairs at 3:00 a.m., some get up at 5:00 a.m., and many – like me – watch anywhere between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. Anyway, can we at least all agree that it borders on the inhuman to make children wait later in the day – God forbid, in the evening! – open gifts?
Before going upstairs loud and clear, I’m going to explain my traditional Christmas day to you (without taking into account work, of course): let’s say that we get up around 8:00 am My brother, mum, dad, grandmother and me we gather in the living room, where we will make stockings and gifts. Then we clean the wrapping paper and some people have a cooked breakfast (I eat chocolate). Then the usual vacation stress ensues.
While most people I know open their gifts in the morning, well before dinner and drinks, there are some demented families who choose to wait. In my experience, it is the fanciest among us who prefer this rhythm of gifts on Christmas Day; in 2018, Useless‘Richard Osman tweeted:’ The question of class, where we all fit and the boundaries that separate one class from another, are so complex and multifaceted. But, basically, it all comes down to this. The later you open your presents on Christmas Day, the more middle class you are.
Having said that, a lawyer friend of mine walked me through his festivities with gritted teeth, so it’s not exactly a beloved tradition, even among those who are subject to it.
There are a few caveats that I’m pretty much ready to accept: maybe one of the parents is working at night so they can rest; maybe several family members are traveling from afar on this day, so it is best to preserve the gift exchange so that everyone is involved, as in The family stone. And, yes, if you want to be really selfless and dishonest, you can say that the gifts don’t really matter.
Ultimately though, my problem with keeping the presents until later today has nothing to do with me; except in the religious sense, Christmas is for children. The memories they have, the gifts they will receive, the joy in their eyes when they open this thing they are dying for, will be the best when they are young.
As an adult, seeing children opening game consoles on Christmas Day reminds me of my own ecstasy back then. For the kids, it really is the most exciting time of the year – it’s Santa Claus, for goodness sake! Don’t continue the cycle of Christmas abuse – just open your presents in the morning.