This was not the smoothest of Christmases for us. Boxing Day was particularly difficult with both boys starting the day badly (Alex came out of his bedroom kicking his feet and Nathan came out tantruming).
We have a couple of theories. One, they simply didn't sleep well Christmas Eve or Christmas Night for the usual sugar and excitement induced reasons. Two, Alex's reduced medication may be showing itself. Three, Nathan attending a late night Christmas Eve party might have made him more tired. Four, maybe Dave and I were more tense as parents (we've all been sick and trying to catch up). Five, maybe it was just an overfull day on Christmas Day.
Lots of the usual suspects to point fingers at.
However, it wasn't all humbugs and hauntings. Most of our Christmas actually went rather well. Although we are somewhat concerned it may have affected his temper, Nathan really enjoyed going to the Christmas Eve party at my aunt's. He was the hit of the night, showing off his dance moves and repertoire of knock-knock jokes.
There are a few things we did to help. I knew it would be a late night, so Nathan and I both took a nap in the middle of the afternoon. (He didn't like it but he did snooze a little.) I went a few minutes early (with my aunt's permission) so that he had time to adjust to the house before people showed up. He had a designated quiet area upstairs that he could go to (we didn't end up using it but knowing it was there helped).
The next day was a whirlwind. The boys actually slept late, until 8 am. I think we were the only house where the adults were up before the kids. We were definitely the only house where the adults were debating waking the kids up (luckily, that didn't prove necessary).
We read our letter from Santa Claus, opened our presents and had breakfast, in that order. The boys liked their presents very much. Santa's workshop made them both Despicable Me Minion stuffed toys. We got Nathan a motorized train set and Alex a Playmobil band and tour bus.
Dave's family showed up around 10:30 and we had more presents and lunch. This was the first year Alex showed interest in opening presents, which made it also the first year I had to keep warning him away from opening gifts which weren't his (may also have been a factor in short tempers).
Then at 3:30, we went to my family's for dinner. The boys were already showing signs of strained tempers. Nathan was screaming at Alex and Alex had shoved him a few times (and lost privileges for it). They had to be supervised much more closely than usual but still seemed to enjoy themselves. I think we ended up rushing presents at my mother's too much for them (the turkey finished cooking early so there was a push to get it done). If I had to do it over, I would have suggested we wait until later or even come back on Boxing Day to finish rather than pushing kids who were already showing signs of emotional exhaustion.
Boxing Day is Dave's mother's Christmas dinner. More presents and more expectations. It went downhill rather quickly. I've suggested that we consider doing a Christmas dinner at lunchtime rather than evening in the future, to avoid dealing with tired and overwhelmed boys.
It's a lot of activity and overwhelming even for an adult. But I'm hard pressed to find something to cut out or simplify. I'll have to think hard for next year.