Don't tell anyone. I love the holy hymns of Christmas, but a secret favorite is this one:
It just brings to mind childhood days and the anticipation. The reason we couldn't fall asleep at night, the reason we were up so bright and early in the mornings, whispering together, all crowded into the same bed, waiting for it to get late enough for us to dare to wake our parents to see if we could get up.
But I grew up and...
...when I had children of my own, I wanted them to have that time of anticipation and excitement before the day was given over to the gifts and the rush of unwrapping, and everything after that anticlimactic.
To that end, if they weren't up, I always kept a wrapping paper tube behind the bedroom door, and would crack my door to bellow "Ho Ho Ho" in my jolliest voice. I would then shut the door, leap back into bed and wait. The sound of footsteps as they congregated in one bedroom, and then after a time, gradually made their way down the hall and wait at the top of the stairs for the grandmother clock to chime 6. No one could go down stairs before that.
Now I am getting older and...
...it is no less exciting to me to see my grandchildren getting excited. Today they helped wrap a present, and they looked for their gifts under the tree. They fixed me with wistful stares: "Can we open just one of them wight now?"
We are lucky. I know this. There are three little boys whose single mothers have to work. Two of them need schooled. So they are in our bubble. We don't have a choice. Other grandparents are do not have grandchildren in their bubble. They are alone and struggling.
These are hard times, and everyone is doing the best that they can. But if you get a chance, through skype, or even just a phone call, try to tap into a child's excitement.
It will help.
If you don't know little children, you can always try to find a big kid.