Every Christmas Eve when we were younger (by younger, I mean age 18 and under), my sister and I would gather up several board games and stash them in one of our bedrooms (we alternated every year). We knew at least one of us would wake up in the wee hours of the morning, and, inevitably, wake the other one up.
In the later years, it was always me waking my sister up.
I'm older. By two years.
In all fairness, this was always agreed upon ahead of time. There was very little complaining that
We would congregate in the chosen room, huddled under blankets, door closed, bedside lamp lit, playing games until a reasonable hour (7:00, 8:00 in later years) to wake our parents up.
Oh sure, there were a couple of surreptitious trips out to the living room to attempt to make out the dark, blurry shapes next to the stockings.
It never really worked.
We always thought we were so quiet, but apparently my parents didn't sleep too well Christmas morning, either. One of them would always ask us later who was sneaking around the living room.
Anyway, some Christmas mornings my sister and I would be playing games for close to 4 hours.
As we got older, we'd usually head out to watch television after an hour or so of games, but not every year.
To this day, I still treasure that time with my sister. We didn't always get along. We've never been that close. We're sisters first, friends second.
I think we were sometimes too much alike.
I didn't like this growing up.
Now, I wish it was different.
Regardless, I will always remember the times we had together in the early hours of those long-gone Christmas mornings; the sisterly camaraderie shared while attempting to deceive our parents.
And trying to play board games without making a peep.