Adventures in Ethics and Science

Tradition takes its toll

The tradition in the Free-Ride family (passed down from my family) is that, on Christmas morning, no one gets to start opening presents until everyone is awake and ready to start opening presents. It doesn’t matter how early the kids are awake. Until the last sleepy parent is ready, you just have to wait.

Santa does leave filled stockings on the foot of each bed, so there’s something to keep you occupied, but that only keeps you satisfied for so long.

The fact that we are visiting the grandparents-who-lurk-but-seldom-comment introduces an interesting complication to the power struggle between sleepy parents and impatient children.

The Free-Ride offspring are staying with the grandparents-who-lurk-but-seldom-comment and their cat in their house. The sleepy parents (I and my better half) are staying in the cabana in the back yard, since I have a cat allergy. This arrangement affords protection not only from allergens but also from noisy-children sounds.

My better half and I awoke at about 8 AM and decided that the offspring were probably jumping out of their skin with impatience. We trundled across the yard to the “big house”, let ourselves in, and were stunned by the utter silence.

Where was everyone?

We looked for signs of life in the kids’ room. On the floor, we found this:


One wonders whether the hyperbole would be as effective in scientific notation.


  1. #1 Michele
    December 25, 2007

    Ha ha!! I remember waiting VERY impatiently for my parents to wake up so we could open presents. Our family had the same rule but I never thought to question it!

  2. #2 yami
    December 25, 2007

    They have to wait 100,000,000 years because that’s the age of the coal and oil that went into making plastic for their presents and providing electricity to light the tree? It seems only fair, really.

  3. #3 Kevin
    December 25, 2007

    we have a similar tradition in our family. The 8 year old grandsons solution (after he went downstairs an hour before sunup and found out Santa had visited): Wake up all the other grandkids and let them know, in a wild and excited voice, that Santa had been there and all the presents were under the tree–making sleep impossible for anyone but the deaf and dying.

  4. #4 Dave Briggs
    December 28, 2007

    Well, 100,000,000 years is a long time, but you could try the old thing about saying, be thankful you didn’t have to wait 1 billion years? Or, be thankful you didn’t have to wait by a black hole where time slows down! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  5. #5 chezjake
    December 28, 2007

    Thinking of sprogs’ sense of time versus that of adults, you might find use for a line that was my grandmother’s universal answer to all those “How soon?” “Are we there yet?” and similar questions. Her answer was always, “It won’t be as long as it has been.”

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