The 24th door of the Meery Christmas Advent Calendar is larger than the previous doors, because the 24th of December is Christmas Eve!
We have arrived at the penultimate moment, the last chance to get ready, and the calm before the storm. Come Christmas Eve, all the key elements are hopefully in place. Presents are wrapped, stockings hung up, treats prepared for Santa, food prep completed, cards posted, and all that is left to do is manage the excitement! Even as a meerkat in his 40s, I still find it slightly difficult to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. That’s the magic of the moment for you!
As a cub, it was far worse. The churning frenzy of Santa’s impending visit meant it was next to impossible to sleep, and this is turn could produce frustration, almost to the point of tears, because I’d desperately want to sleep, so as not to be deprived Santa’s visit. This would become something of a vicious cycle. Eventually sleep would claim me, and after waking up quite early, my brother and I would discover Santa had been! Our sacks were full, and we were delighted.
What I now understand is the time and effort put in by my parents on Christmas Eve, and indeed, in the build-up across the season. They – along with millions of parents – allowed my brother and I to believe in something truly magical. Inevitably we have to burst the Santa bubble, but for a time, our children can truly believe in magic, and a glorious, fun magic at that. There was no chance of depriving my daughter of that, so on Christmas Eve we would use our Santa boot and reindeer foot templates with some fake snow, and make it look as though he had crept into the house, whereupon he would leave presents under the tree. He’d eat the mince pie left out for him on my daughter’s special Christmas plate, and also drink the glass of whisky (cough). His reindeer would nibble the carrot, and they’d be on their way.
Our household has one small Christmas Eve tradition, which is that we’ll try to get a Chinese takeaway that night. It’s become a thing we do, and I can’t quite remember why, but who can say no to a nice Chinese?
After all the last-minute preparations are finished, a tipple or two usually helps to draw a hectic day to a close, with the promise of what is to come to warm the soul.