This year we have one teenager and one almost-teenager in the house. It’s interesting to see how Christmas changes as the kids reach different stages in life. I think that Emma, who is twelve this year, was a little regretful over the loss of the excited feeling she used to have as a smaller child when waking before dawn, racing downstairs and tearing open presents. She actually had to be woken up and convinced to get out of bed (at 7:30 a.m.) by her older brother this morning. For her, the most exciting part of Christmas seemed to be the weeks before, when for the first time she picked out gifts for all her family and friends and bought them, mostly with her own money (earned by doing extra dish duty during the month of November, which was lovely for me too as I’m not a fan of doing dishes).
There is certainly something special about the excitement level of having tiny kids in the house at Christmas but I’m really liking Christmas at the age the kids are now. Quite apart from extra dishwashing help, and kids doing (some of) their own shopping, I like that Emma has been helping me with gift-wrapping. I’m a terrible wrapper so normally Jason does it all, and them I’m left to wrap his gifts and they look terrible compared to the rest. This year I was able to get Emma to do all Jason’s gifts. Then there’s been Chris going around the house playing Christmas songs on guitar or mandolin and not minding too much if I sing along. And when they asked me to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever aloud, as I do most years, both kids wanted to take turns reading chapters aloud (and did a great job!).
Of course it’s not all idyllic. We’ve had our share of the bursts of temper and grumpiness so common to the parents of teenagers … and sometimes even seen in teenagers themselves! But on the whole I’ve liked the feeling that this is now a household with four big people doing Christmas for each other, rather than Christmas being something performed by the parents for the kids as it was when they were younger. It’s fun of a whole different kind … and yes, I do consider sleeping till 7:30 on Christmas morning a luxury!
Maybe next year we’ll make it to 8:00 a.m.