Why my kids will be getting up at the butt crack of dawn on Christmas Day

Dec 24, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. ET

If there's one thing being a parent has taught me, it's that sleep is no longer a given. From 2 a.m. barf-fests to cluster feeds, my kids' needs have often trumped my own desperate love affair with sleep. On Christmas Day, I know I'll get up obscenely early. But dude? It's Christmas.

Normally if my kids confront me at 6 a.m., I tell them to go back to bed. Or, more accurately, I tell them to keep the volume on the computer very, very low. I've also taught my third-grader how to microwave pancakes for himself and for his brother, because no one should be expected to get up and feed children who wake up at stupid o'clock.

On Christmas, I know they're going to walk right into the unwrapped gift Santa has left them under the tree next to all the wrapped gifts they've been examining and shaking for a few weeks. That means I need to crawl out of bed and be semiconscious. I'll be honest — it's a struggle. But in the grand scheme of parenting, I can give up on sleep during these precious few Christmas mornings.

My kids are close to exiting the Santa stage, and before I know it, they'll be visiting from college, and they'll be sleeping until 11 a.m. on Christmas. For now, I'm willing to wrap myself in a blanket, brew a cup of tea and squint in semidarkness as they tear through gifts. That's the way baby Jesus intended it to be.

I know it's tempting to send the kids back to bed on Christmas morning, but as long as it's legitimately Christmas and not, like, 3 a.m. (which, nope), I say let the kids have their early-morning frenzy. The cool thing is, they'll be semilethargic by late afternoon, and you can snooze on the couch while they zonk out playing the video games Santa painstakingly chose from their Amazon wish lists. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nap.

More on holidays

Running out of stuff during the holidays is the worst
Teens are truly terrible around the holidays
How to make dollar store Christmas crafts for kids

Tagged in