When I was a child my mom’s family would take turns hosting their parents and brothers and sisters and their children on Christmas Eve. The parents would sit in the living room, smoking cigarettes, and drinking cocktails or beer. I imagine there was food, but I don’t remember it. Santa Claus would show up at some point and hand out presents. We knew it because we’d hear the sleigh bells and sometimes even noise on the roof where Santa’s sleigh was parked. Then came the mad scramble of opening presents, the shouts of joy, the tears, the happy parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles grinning at how the gifts they gave were received by the children.
Before or after Santa’s arrival (I’m thinking before) we cousins would gather in a bedroom or basement and plan a play to put on for the adults. Because I was the oldest, I was always the director, and probably the star. I don’t remember any of the plays’ subjects, but I remember having fun planning and performing to a tipsy and appreciative audience.