E has to work on Christmas this year. I realize in the scheme of Ways The Military Can Screw Up Your Holidays having to work on Christmas Day is pretty minor, but it’s the first time this has happened since having kids. (Funny enough, neither of us can remember if it happened BEFORE kids – Maybe once? I know it happened the very first year we were dating but we weren’t spending the holidays together then.)
I’m really glad he’s not deployed. I’m glad it’s only a 24 hour watch. I’m glad we have some family visiting so our day can still be special. But I’m a little stumped on what to do about Santa.
The way our day(s) would go if E didn’t have work is: Christmas Eve service at our church, open one present before bed, wake up at 7 am, open our stockings, open our gifts, make pancakes, eat way too much chocolate, have some sort of Christmasy dinner, get really bored and whiny, fight over new toys, put on fresh jammies (since we’re probably still wearing the ones we woke up in), go to bed.
This year we have three options.
1. Santa comes early. One of us sneaks all the gifts out and fill the stockings while the other loads the kids into the car for church and we open everything before bed on Christmas Eve. The major problem with this plan is getting the kids to GO to bed. They are sooooo tired in the evenings now that they don’t nap and I’d expect at least a couple meltdowns during the gift-opening, followed by major over-tired hyper energy boosts that keep them up until 11 pm. But in the morning they’ll have all the new presents to play with and we can still have pancakes.
2. Santa comes late. The kids can’t read a calendar, they don’t know what day it is. So we go to Christmas Eve service, put them to bed, and when they wake up it’s just a fun Play With Grandma and Grandpa day. I put out the gifts after they go to bed and we have normal Christmas on the 26th. I’ll let the kids open their stockings while we wait for E to get home and then he jumps right in to presents. We can all spend the whole day together, complete with pancakes and Christmas dinner. But on the 25th of December we won’t celebrate anything and I’m not entirely sure that won’t bum me out.
3. Early morning Christmas. E doesn’t actually have to be at work until 9 am (AT work, which means he has to leave here around 8 am) so we could potentially get all the major Christmas activities done before he goes in. We can wake the kids up at 6 am for stockings and presents (if they aren’t already up from excitement). Then the kids can play with their bazillion new toys all day, we can have something casual for lunch, and they can go to bed at the regular time. ALSO maybe possibly after they go to bed I can sneak off to see Les Mis alone, so I can sob my eyes out without judgment. We can do a Christmas ham and all the side dishes on the 26th if I work up enough energy, but I wouldn’t mind terribly if we skipped it for some pizza. The down side is the rush to get everything over with before E goes in to work – do we want to make it a race to open everything as fast as possible?
I realize this is an insanely first world problem – “Oh noes! My kids are getting SO MUCH stuff for Christmas we need HOURS to open it all! We might not get pancakes together! So tragic!” – but I’m trying to figure out how keep Magical Christmas magical for the ginger bebehs.
What would you do for your family? Option 1, option 2 or options 3?