As little kids we'd be delirious with anticipation. Everything was in place. Trees and lights and the outdoor stuff and endless sugar cookies all over the house. If we had a few more days of school they were fake days.....nobody was paying attention and that included teachers, who were eyeballing the clock as much as we were. But even school was festive, with decorations and ugly sweaters and impromptu classroom parties. Everybody was waiting on the big man, and what had seemed impossibly remote was now suddenly upon us. Visions of under-the-tree booty danced in our heads, and we fervently hoped that our parents didn't make us attend Midnight mass, a devious invention that added time to get drunk on top of normal grown-up Irish Catholic guilt. Needless to say, it was always packed with unsteady dilettantes....and if you didn't get there by 11pm you'd have to stand.
None of that. The sooner we went to bed, the sooner he’d come.