The Ranks of the Bleary-Eyed

November 11, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

As a child, I never understood why my Mom and Dad were such sleepyheads on Christmas morning. Then we had kids, and my husband and I joined the ranks of the bleary-eyed. (All despite heroic attempts to get everything done before midnight). Yet even in my sleep-deprived state, I could not believe the joy it gave me to watch our kids’ faces as they peered at the gifts under the tree. It was as though their smiles and delighted squeals transported me back to my own childhood Christmas mornings, only better.

One year, in a feeble effort to get more sleep, Dave tied a rope to the doorknob of the boys’ room and pulled it across the hall closing it in our door so that they couldn’t open theirs until we opened ours. We laughed ‘till we cried when the boys woke at 5:00 a.m. and couldn’t get their door open. You should have heard the ruckus. We still laugh about that every Christmas.

When I was a youngster, my parents gave the countdown and my sisters and I tore into the gifts all at once. Dave’s family took a different approach that once I adjusted to, I love also.

Here’s how it worked. Christmas music drifted through the room, everyone munched on gooey homemade cinnamon rolls and the adults sipped coffee, as the boys sorted and handed out the packages. Then, one at time, starting with the youngest, the opening began. It was such fun seeing what everyone received AND their reactions.

The smallest in the group could play with their gifts and their stocking contents that we all opened at once before we began, while the older ones carried on with the opening. The result was a lovely, relaxed family time punctuated by a few great laughs when someone would open one of Papa’s goofy gag gifts. We still practice this method today with our nearly grown children and whoever we are blessed to have under our roof on Christmas morn.

I never understood why, if it is Christ’s birthday, we get the presents. So, when our kids were little, we started a new tradition. We all wrote what we were giving to Jesus on a card to put in His stocking on the mantel. After all the gifts were opened, someone would read His last (He is the oldest). Notes like the one Micah wrote when he was about eight:

Dear Jesus,

For Christmas for You I bought a present for the family we adopted through Angel Tree.

Love, Micah

I loved those days when our kids were little, but having adult kids has its merits also. Like the fact that because they are so tired when they come home from college, we practically have to drag them out of bed on Christmas morning.

The traditions we kept over the years with our boys have become my fondest memories of the season. Like Baby Jesus’ birthday party and white elephant gift exchange on Christmas Eve or gingerbread house making parties.

When people whine that Christmas decorations are going up in the stores too soon, I’m thrilled. It means my kids will soon be home and that we will be celebrating my best friend Jesus’ birthday. What could be better? Merry Christmas!

About Liz Cowen Furman

Liz is an author, artist, encourager, mentor, teacher and popular speaker. However, her most important job is as mother to her three teen-aged boys and being a support to her husband, Appellate Court Judge, Dave Furman. All of whom give her much fodder for her writing and speaking (with permission of course). Find out more at
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