Don’t fall victim to Christmas chaos this year

It was still dark outside, but I just couldn’t wait. The pile of presents underneath the Christmas tree was too much for me to handle. I just had to open one. Or two, or all of them (literally).

I was 3 years old - I didn’t know any better. Blame it on excitement or innocence - but it wasn’t my fault. How was I supposed to know that only some of those gifts were mine? What do you mean it wasn’t first-come, first-served or finder’s keepers?

I’m sure when you got out of bed this morning - at about 4 or 5 a.m. - your kids or grandkids were as excited as I was that Christmas morning. And while you were slightly annoyed about getting up in the middle of the night, I bet you were a little giddy, too.

After all, it’s Christmas!

There aren’t many things better than watching your kids rip open their gifts, hoping that Santa brought them the things on their lists. And seeing their faces light up when they get “just what I always wanted,” makes the day pretty special. In most cases, my kids come away satisfied with their newly-acquired loot. It doesn’t take them long to beg us to open all the packages so they can start enjoying their new things.

This morning, after they’ve opened all their gifts and all the wrapping paper is cleaned up, I’m hoping to enjoy the moment. Most years, it seems like the day turns into chaos. We hurry up and open gifts. We quickly get changed, load up the car and go over to see family. There, it’s more rapid-fire gift opening, the Christmas meal and rushing through the adults opening presents.

Before you know it, it’s dark again and Christmas is over.

It’s not that Christmas isn’t fun. It’s just that it seems like I — or the kids — don’t have enough time to enjoy it. We’re always in a rush to move in to the next gift or event or something. I’m hoping that this year, we can let the kids take more time to enjoy the moment. If they want to open one gift and play with it for an hour before opening the next, I’m all for it.

I don’t even mind if I don’t get to open my gift until the next day. I like getting presents, but I’d rather watch the kids enjoy theirs first. Even if that means I have to play Barbies or watch the Tinker Bell movie.

I hope you’re having a nice, mellow Christmas day with those closest to you. Take your time and enjoy the moment - Christmas 2010 will only come once.

And in that spirit, Neighbors would like to see how your day went. Email us photos of your kids (adults, too) as they show their glee after getting the cool things on their lists. You can send them to Please include caption information and which town you are from. We’ll share your photos with your friends and neighbors in a future edition.

Merry Christmas from Neighbors.