As I've been hauling out the 35 boxes and bins of Christmas decorations that I've somehow managed to amass, I've been thinking about the story, The Night Before Christmas. You heard it as a child, didn't you? The one by Clement Moore? It's a favorite of mine...
mainly because I'd like to know how they managed it...
pretty much all of it.
You remember the story, don't you?
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Really?! Not a single person up late wrapping a few last minute gifts or making cinnamon rolls or strata for breakfast?
No one making a last minute run to the drug store to pick up batteries for the camera or a few stocking stuffers? Anyone at all headed out to midnight services?
Okay. I guess that they're simply more organized than I am, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that...
"And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap."
Is this simply a more poetic way of saying "We collapsed into our bed exhausted from a month of preparation, holiday parties, Christmas pageant's and entertaining?"
If that's what they're really saying, then at least that part of the story makes sense to me.
I do have one more question: Can anyone give me a firm definition of "long winter's nap"?
Does this mean that they somehow managed to get more than six consecutive hours of sleep in a single night...on Christmas Eve?
Is that what they mean by "long nap"? Because in my book, a nap is generally a pretty accurate description of the amount of sleep that I get on Christmas Eve...but long nap?
Aren't those two terms mutually exclusive? Anything over 3 hours isn't a nap is it?
I'm not convinced.
If the couple in the story actually got a real night's sleep on December 24th, this would seem to indicate that they got their children to stay in bed past 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. How'd they do that?! Did money change hands?!
Also, I presume that they don't have adolescent children.
After all, does anyone who has raised teenagers honestly believe that they'd be "...nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads..." before midnight ?
Even if they were upstairs before 9 p.m, how is it that they wouldn't be laughing and talking from one too many cookies before bedtime and the adrenaline rush of anticipation for Christmas morning?
Let me guess...their children are healthy eaters, brush their teeth without being reminded and go straight to sleep without a word of protest.
As if any of that isn't enough to make me wonder what I'm doing wrong, let's recall this scenario:
"When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter, away to the window I flew in a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash."
Clearly, this guy is much younger than I am and obviously a light sleeper.
If there were a clatter on my lawn on Christmas Eve, I've got to admit, I'd probably sleep right through it.
In the unlikely event that I was awakened by anything other than the bed being taken out from beneath me, it would take me at least 10 minutes to be certain that I really did hear something and to decide whether or not to call the police.
Then I'd need to find my glasses and robe, stumble to the window (trying not to trip over the dog) and peer carefully through a slit in the curtains to see if I really wanted to get involved in whatever it was that was occurring.
Come to think of it, there's no mention of MRS. Night Before Christmas getting up to see what was going on....apparently, she's a sound sleeper, too.
The increasingly incredible story continues, "When what to my wondering eyes should appear But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick."
Really!? He recognizes the guy after being startled from a sound sleep in the middle of the night, in the dark, from a second story window, without glasses?! Comeon!
At this point in my reality, I'd decide that I was dreaming, or merely hallucinating from exhaustion. I'd get a drink of water, check on my sons and go back to bed because if someone that I know really wants to come into my home through the chimney, in the pre-dawn hours of Christmas day, to eat cookies and leave a few gifts, who am I to argue?!
So, if you happen to be in my neighborhood on Christmas Eve, any time before, oh, let's say 1:30 a.m., stop by...
I'll probably be awake, sewing a few beads on a gift, or running out to pick up a gallon of milk because Santa drank it all.
Be forewarned, however, that if you wake me up before 6:30 on Christmas morning, it had better be because there's coffee on and you've made breakfast!