It begins at the end of the night. Three young children sat by Christmas tree lights. It’s bitterly cold outside but all three are wrapped up warm indoors, tucking into a hot snack before bed. There’s a blissful peace as children and parents are quietly happy in each other’s company. They all know what tomorrow is, it’s hard to escape, what with the presents under the tree and the festive programmes on TV. Christmas Eve, with all its excitedly heart pounding anticipation is coming to a close. Bedtime approaches for the three young children, but not before tradition.
Its father’s job to make sure Santa is looked after on his visit. Children at his heels as he strides to the kitchen and prepares a welcoming snack for the late night guest. There’s mince pie for Santa with a chilled glass of milk, but lest we forget Rudolph, every child’s favourite reindeer. A full carrot sits beside Santa’s snack on a table set up by the front door. An odd place to be left but to the minds of those young children why wouldn’t it be at the front door, it’s an entrance after all. This heralds the end of the children’s day as Mother takes over and leads her offspring to their beds.
Of course as mother’s often do at this magical time of year and on this rather special night, its not an easy task. Not as you’d imagine from excitable children, but from an over excitable mother, who begins her own tradition. All done in the aid of getting into the Christmas spirit songs are sung and tales are told. Father takes this time to disappear, not one for singing perhaps or taking his chance to escape the mad woman he married. Three young children cuddled around their mother as she tells a Christmas bedtime story. Each child holding a stocking in their arms, cuddled tightly like a soft toy, engrossed in the whimsical tale with dreams of a magical tomorrow. Eyes begin to get heavy and Mother knows it’s time for bed. Leading her children to the foot of the staircase she beckons their father as she as one last song to sing her children to bed
Eldest first, then middle then baby, three young children line up as Mother ties ribbon onto their stockings to be hung on the banister outside their bedrooms. With the last ribbon attached she releases her children to ascend the staircase. Silently and tiredly the three young children plod up the stairs. As the eldest reaches the middle of the staircase, a song in his mother’s voice begins to follow.
Christmas Eve is here
And we go off to bed
As we climb the stairs
We nod our sleepy heads
Slow and melodic, her voice is soft and sleepy. Timing her lyrics to allow her children to reach the banister, making sure her song is uninterrupted. Mother follows the youngest, encouraging the children to sing along. It’s a song they’re well accustomed with; it’s something Mother insists on every year. So used to the song and it’s lyrics the three young children know exactly what to do. From left to right across the banister those three young children line and tie their stockings ribbons.
Take our stockings off
Hang them in a row
Often pre-empting the lyrics, for they know what comes next. The stockings are tied messily, each falling to the floor as the knot is too high. Not to worry of course as they’ll be magically fixed come morning. Mother stands watching over her three young children, holding on the last line, holding on the last note till the last knot is tied.
In a startling tempo change Mother explodes with excitement. Loud and exuberant her voice rings out commanding her three children in song
Then all jump quickly into bed
And off to sleep we go
Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle, jingle, jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride…
The three young children run to their rooms and leap to their beds. Mother runs between her children’s bedrooms as she continues to sing
…In a one-horse open sleigh
Hey, jingle bells, jingle bells
A-jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh!
And with that Christmas Eve is officially at a close, with Mother and Father visiting each child to tuck them into bed. A kiss goodnight and wishes of sweet dreams, for tomorrow it’ll be Christmas Day, but tonight it’s time to sleep. It’s quite the interesting notion, but rather unlikely to happen. For you see after Mother’s excitable singing, how are those three young children ever suppose to sleep.