My sister and I had a ritual on Christmas Eve. We’d pretend to be asleep in our beds and practice waking each other up and running down the stairs to the Christmas tree. We would time ourselves as we alternated who would be the sleeper, and who would be the ‘waker.’ My older sister had very clear instructions—“don’t go down without me, make sure I’m awake. I’ll pretend to be deep asleep so you can practice.” Ah, those were the days. When the holiday stress consisted solely of how fast we could get out of bed and tear open presents. Fast forward to Christmastime as a Mom. Now as I drift off to sleep on Christmas Eve, usually near midnight (sometimes later depending on how much ‘assembly required’ gifts there are) my hope is to sleep as long as possible before someone attempts to rouse me. I haven’t lost my sense of wonder—I have a healthy relationship with sleep. As in, I need it. But I have thought about it from time to time, the different holiday experience that children and adults have. So when I have run out of tape in the middle of wrapping presents or I’ve put everything on the table for dinner only to realize I’ve forgotten the rolls—I stop and look at the faces of my children. They aren’t worried. They aren’t stressed. As it should be. I take my cue from them and remember why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.
Tamara Passey was born and raised in Massachusetts around a large family, one that has served as inspiration for most of her writing. She loves creative endeavors and when she isn’t writing or re-writing, you can find her baking or cross-stitching or walking—though not all at the same time. She is a marriage and parenting contributor to FamilyShare.com and lives with her husband and three children in Arizona—which she claims might be the reason her stories include a little bit of snow. The Christmas Tree Keeper is her debut novel. You can find her online at www.TamaraPassey.com.