Want well-rested kids on Christmas day? Don't tell them it's Christmas Eve

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Full props to the parents who don't mind being exhausted by midday on Christmas Day with a gaggle of ratty, overtired kids.

Such is the lot of many of us, who endure years of constant Christmas Eve night waking, culminating in a not-so-joyous 4am start to the day, followed by inevitable meltdowns from kids and adults alike.

Ridiculously early waking doesn't do anyone any favours on the most exciting day of the year, so one mum says she has come up with an idea that she has run by other Mumsnet users in case it's too "mean", and it involves not letting the kids know it's Christmas Eve.

She writes, "I have this idea, that for this year we won't tell DC's [Dear Children] it's Christmas Eve. We don't do Christmas Eve boxes and they are usually disinterested in their advent calendars by mid December so don't really countdown as such. They will be 5 and 6. 

My idea is they will get a good night's sleep, and I'm thinking that waking them up early and telling them it's Christmas morning will be a far bigger and exciting surprise. 

Would I be unreasonable or mean for doing this? I think it's the only year we'd get away with it. We don't have any plans for Christmas Eve except a fairly quiet day with just us at home. Friends I've briefly discussed this with seem a bit off with it."

It's a sore point for a lot of people it seems, with the vast majority of responses seeming to indicate they think she is denying her children one of the biggest joys of being a kids at Christmas time.

This responder is clear about their thoughts on the matter.

"You can't do that. When I was a kid I was so excited for Christmas Eve. Trying to stay awake to see Santa, the excitement of the next day, don't take that away from them just so they get a good night sleep. Kids aren't kids for long, let them enjoy the build up and don't suck the fun out of it."


And another...

"But... but... but... Christmas Eve is THE BEST BIT about Christmas! I'd have been bloody gutted as a child to miss out on that wonderful sense of magic and anticipation, leaving a snack out for Father Christmas, etc. I can remember it so vividly and it was wonderful. 

This person isn't mincing words.

"I don't understand your logic? The whole point in Christmas for the kids is the build up to Xmas eve and Father Christmas coming. He's going to be pretty pissed off when he gets to your house and there's no mince pie or whisky and rudolf is parched. I can't believe you'd take away the magic of Xmas eve in favour of a good nights sleep. They can sleep the rest of the hols if they're tired!! Don't be mean."

However it is a case of different strokes for different folks, as this responder details doing something similar when her children - who are on the spectrum - were small.

"We did this with our two when they were young as they have mild ASD so easily got over-excited. They got a good night's sleep and even now have never woken up early at 16 and 14. We put their Santa sacks either side of the fire so no need for us to creep into their rooms. Worked really well for us."

And this commenter puts the issue of 'being mean' into perspective by countering negative responses with this story.

"I know someone who when the kids were wee and misbehaving before Christmas told them it was Christmas Eve on the 23rd so when they woke up there was nothing there for them - that's mean!"

Finally, this person wasn't pulling any punches with this response - therapy anyone?

"That is the weirdest thing I've ever heard. Your children will be bringing this up on Mumsnet in 15 years time."


The responses make for a good read, so head on over to Mumsnet.