If you think the months-long holiday rush is wild, that’s still nothing. You won’t feel the real bustle until Christmas Eve. As a family-oriented country, we always make it a point to spend Christmas with our extended families. So the venues are either in your home or at another relative’s house.
Our family, for example, has spent the holidays in the Arias household in the last few years. So, you could feel the change in mood from morning to evening—I’m sure it’s the same with some of you, too. If not, allow me to share with you the stages of Christmas prep.
While a lot of you are still groggy from sleep, the matriarch of the house is already calculating how she’s going to prepare the noche buena. But no one’s stressing out yet because it’s still too early to do things all at once. You’re chill, slowly arranging the gifts under the tree or on a table, and even watching TV series in between.
Afternoon: Everyone’s moving around
Now the real preparations start before the rest of the clan arrives. Your mom, dad, grandma, and/or grandpa are busy in the kitchen. Some are doing last-minute gift-wrapping and decorations around the house. Later on, the stuff you rented—it can be monoblock tables and chairs, or a karaoke machine—will be dropped off, so you have to oversee the arrangement of those as well. During this time, it’s almost impossible to sit down and relax because someone is bound to ask you a favor every hour.
Your relatives are arriving in droves and you’re required to greet all of them. If you’re introverted, prolonged socializing can be difficult and tiring, especially if you’re not close to certain family members. Of course, you can’t avoid it and you have to last until noche buena is served and the gift-giving.
Thank goodness for the cousins you grew up with though. At least you can talk about anything without any inhibitions while sharing a few drinks.
Late night: Trying to stay up longer
When the gift-giving’s done and everyone’s full (or still going for their third serving), it’s like downtime all over again. Your relatives are telling stories in hushed voices so they won’t wake the kids who’ve already fallen asleep. Some are already drunk and hogging the karaoke until the wee hours. The celebration doesn’t stop because everyone’s trying their best to stay up longer and catch up, even though they’ll probably see each other again on New Year’s Eve.
Behind the scenes, some members of your family are already clearing the table and washing plates. Others are probably asleep in one of the rooms or the couch because Christmas does tire you out, you know?
Once everybody’s left, the house is quiet again and everyone in your family can finally get some peaceful shut-eye. The rest of the dirty dishes and the unopened gifts? Those can wait ’til Christmas morning.