Tom Burns recounts the Ten Essential Commandments that every dad must honor on Christmas Morning.
Even though Christmas has become a holiday that’s equally popular in religious and secular circles, there are some universal truths, tenets, and/or spiritual laws related to Christmas that are entirely unique to the holiday—commandments that hold true for any participant, no matter what they believe. While poets like Clement Moore, Theodore Geisel, and Elmo & Patsy have written extensively about the mythology surrounding the holiday as a whole, there are, in fact, TEN holy commandments for Christmas Morning itself that are held to be universally true, particularly by fathers, who are no strangers to the existential crises that arise in the early hours of December 25th.
Thus, for the benefit of the uninitiated, we now present the Ten Commandments of Christmas Morning:
PROLOGUE: We are parents, the lords of Christmas. We brought these children into this world and bought them practically everything they own. This is our house and these are our rules…
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF CHRISTMAS MORNING
1. There shall be no gifts on Christmas Morning that upstage the gifts of the parents. Presents that trump, outshine, or overwhelm a child’s gift from his or her own parents are an abomination. The only exception to this law are gifts that come from Santa Claus, whom, we all acknowledge, acts as a part of the Holy Duo, Trinity, Quartet, or Quorum of Modern Parenting.
2. You shall not spend the majority of your Christmas Morning looking at graven images on your phone, fiddling with a camera, or placing a technology filter between oneself and one’s family. The best recording device is one’s memory. The second best is probably an iPhone. Those are pretty great.
3. You shall not mention the words “gift receipt” at ANY TIME during Christmas Morning, no matter how redundant, uninspired, or obscene the gift is. Tackiness is an affront to Santa.
4. Remember that Christmas Morning is a holy day, a holiday, it comes but once a year. So, if your children wake at 5 am and will not go back to sleep, you probably should’ve seen that coming.
5. Despite Commandment #4, the best way for a child to honor a mother, father, or any parent on Christmas Morning is to sleep until, at least, 7 am. Those who sleep in longer will sit at Santa’s right hand for eternity.
6. You shall not wait until Christmas Morning to assemble toys that have more than 20 pieces. Santa smiles on those who begin assembly early.
7. You shall immediately realize the PERFECT gift for your children and/or significant others three seconds after they open their less-than-perfect presents on Christmas Morning. Do not lament. Immediately add those items to an Amazon wish list before you forget and try again next year.
8. You shall not have all the batteries necessary on Christmas Morning. I know you checked twice. I know they were right here last night. No, I don’t know where the Target bag is. Santa works in mysterious ways.
9. You shall (and should) bear false witness about how much you enjoy your Christmas presents, with the complete endorsement of Santa himself, if it protects the feelings of one you love. The only thing Santa likes more than cookies is empathy.
10. You shall totally covet the gifts of those around you. It’s going to happen. It’s normal. But Christmas Morning itself is a gift, a present that no one is owed. So, Santa knows that it’s hard, but be happy with what you have. Even if your sister got an iPhone and you got slippers. Santa will make it up to you later.
Photo courtesy of the author