Christmas is magical with little kids. You relive the wonder of Santa, the miracle of all those presents suddenly appearing under the tree, the delight in the discovery of ‘snowy’ footprints by the fire. So it’s understandable those of you currently enjoying these and similar joys must wonder what it’s like when the little darlings are not so little. Will the lights burn less brightly, will the tree smell less piney, will the snow be more yellow than white?
Well, young’uns with young’uns, let me tell you something – Christmas with much, much older kids is GREAT. And here are 20 reasons why.
1. First and foremost, you get to sleep in on Christmas morning. Did you hear that? YOU GET TO SLEEP IN ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. It’s like double Christmas. Or Christmas squared.
2. They don’t care if their turkey breast isn’t cut into perfect triangles. Or their roast potatoes are touching the gravy.
3. They’re usually able to keep down most of the food they eat. And if not, they know what to do about it.
4. They can put themselves to bed at the end of Christmas Day. Better still, they can put you to bed, if necessary. But don’t expect them to turn off all the lights.
5. Stockings can be filled with things like Bioré strips, to be applied altogether while watching the family Christmas movie. With prizes for most disgusting, biggest individual blackhead, and biggest wimp peeling off.
6. You no longer have to follow exactly the same traditions in case someone starts asking questions. Such as why there were no footprints by the chimney, but presents still under the tree. Santa had apparently come straight from Australia that year, so the snow had melted. Like Mummy’s and Daddy’s brain at 2 am that morning.
That said, there will probably be one tradition that must be observed no matter the age. In our house, it’s that presents must not appear under the tree until after the ‘children’ have gone to bed on Christmas Eve. This is as decreed by our strapping 18-year old youth.
7. There are no fights about finishing their brussel sprouts. Well, not usually.
8. Following on from no 7, you don’t have to change the diaper/nappy of anyone who’s eaten brussel sprouts.
9. Your kids can and actually do enjoy sitting down and listening to their grandmother’s stories. By contrast they no longer find their father’s jokes funny. But they’re old enough now to humour his humour.
10. You don’t have to force them to sign the family Christmas cards. Because there’s a magic age when it’s OK for you to just write their name for them, either because they no longer live full-time with you, or no one would be able to read their signature anyway. Fyi, husbands will sometimes try the latter excuse as well.
11. You get to relive one of the sweetest moments of bringing them up – the peace and quiet that reigns in the house when they take that much-needed afternoon nap. They need it now for just the same reasons as when they were little – lack of sleep and being cranky from too many sugary drinks and excitement. The only difference is that the sugary drinks may also have had something else in them when your now-of-legal-age babies were out with their friends the night before. Plus their breath doesn’t smell so sweet.
12. And talking of sugary drinks, you don’t have to worry about leaving your rum and coke down anywhere in case little hands mistake it for something else. You know who you are.
13. Tantrums are now the domain of the elders, and are seen as entertaining and much-anticipated events. We usually have a family pot going as to the timing and ownership of the first tears. We’re now on Day 6 of my mother’s visit, and so far no action, so it’s getting pretty exciting.
14. You don’t have to watch a single cartoon or Disney/Pixar/DreamWorks movie. Not a single one.
15. Chances are the gifts they want won’t fall apart in the first 20 minutes of being opened. And won’t need to be assembled – at least not by you.
16. They’re able to read any instructions all by themselves. Although they still won’t.
17. They actually like having photos taken of themselves. Lots of them.
18. That look on their face when they see the Christmas sweater Auntie Dolores knitted for them actually is pure joy. Because they know they’re on to a winner in all future Ugly Christmas Sweater Competitions.
19. You can hang baubles all the way down to the bottom of the tree, without the need for a 24-hour webcam to monitor all potential choking hazards. Of course if you have a dog, regardless of the children’s advanced years, you still may not actually end Christmas with baubles all the way down to the bottom of the tree.
20. And last but by no means least, Christmas lasts so much longer with older children, because it’s not all about just one day. Instead it starts the moment the last of your now scattered clan walks in the door and enters your arms. In my case, that was yesterday evening. So with a full home and an even fuller heart, I’d like to wish you and your family the happiest of holidays and the brightest of New Years.
Merry Christmas to all kids, big and little!