The 5 Stages of Christmas Eve Toy Assembly
When you are still trying to tell yourself the following: The seven Amazon boxes are really just full of fluffy stuffed animals. Is it really already 11 p.m.? Thank God this won’t take long, I see us asleep by midnight. Maybe most of them come assembled. I got this, 15 years ago I was German club president and breezed through shop class. Nothing needs batteries. I bought all the batteries we will need. I bought all the right size batteries. Of course I know where the drill is. The cordless drill is fully charged. Yes, I remember where the eyeglass sized screwdriver is. All the pre-drilled holes are, well, pre-drilled. This year we won’t need the 9 inch Santoku knife, pliers, jaws of life, and a blow torch. I promise.
Here come the smart ass comments from the parent that did absolutely NONE of the toy shopping, and was asked to start putting the toys together three weeks ago. Here also comes the smart ass comments from the ‘so over Christmas’ parent, who has been toy bargain hunting since Halloween, making sure to snag the hottest and most desired toy for that kid who has only asked for that one thing. (And you finally found it!) It’s your fault, the kids don’t need all of this! Uh, NO … it’s your fault, you could have done this weeks ago! Oh yea? Well it’s your mother’s fault, for going over board on her grandson’s and sending all these toys HERE for US to put together. Seriously? It’s your fault, for not having any FEMALE sperm! Go ahead and take that two foot long Hot Wheels track and shove it up your arse. I’m going to bed.
Ohhhh, the peace of Christmas Eve before children, just the two of us, a roaring fire, a dinner that did not contain a nugget shaped anything, and nothing to put together while we’re half-asleep. And sleeping in on Christmas morning, like until 11, then lingering over coffee and good conversation and the exchanging of thoughtful and intimate gifts. Then our first Christmas as a married couple together, expecting our first baby, and eager to have a little bundle the following year. Remember when we couldn’t wait to have a kid old enough to sit, unafraid, on Santa’s lap? One that would write adorable letters to the jolly guy, and believed with all his heart the magic that is Christmas? Memories, like the corners of this coffee table we haven’t seen in years because it’s baby proofed. So here’s to us, waking up tomorrow at 5 a.m., admiring the thoughtful new hot water heater we bought each other for Christmas. What are you doing New Year’s Eve? Set the alarm for midnight so we can smooch.
4. “We’re Done Having Kids”
This usually happens two or three kids in, sometime after 2 a.m, with bleary eyes and impatiently angry voices. When a hungry baby has woken up to eat, the toddler simultaneously begins crying because of a bad dream, and you have three hours more of clicking and snapping your way to the perfect little boy’s workbench. You both start saying it. Her, “Don’t ever touch me again.” Him, “Let’s have another baby you said! It will be fun you said!” Her, “I’m never having sex with you again.” Him, “How could we? They ALL sleep WITH us!” Her, “NO. MORE. KIDS.” Him, “You got it.” You have two more anyway.
You stop talking to each other, and you hunker down and just do it. You work like little elves, in perfect unison, grasping at any last bit of alertness you can muster, and you get ‘er done. You laugh at the arguments you just had an hour before, and instead you stop for a few minutes and go outside in the cold night air and try out the shiny new red scooter. You play catch with the new football, and kick around the soccer ball. You write out “From Santa” on the new bike, push the new trains along the track, and stuff the stockings. You fall asleep, even if it is only for a few minutes, grateful for children that will squeal through the house with the sunrise. You accepted the fact you are in fact grown ups, and you’ve rocked another Christmas Eve as mom and dad.
This article was originally published on