It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas because you have a hammer, a screwdriver, and a power drill next to the recliner in the living room. Once the gifts are opened, the assembly begins, and the process could drag on for five hours or so.

The actual time spent putting Christmas gifts together is around 68 minutes, but the entire process can take several hours if you count stages every parent goes through including dread, regret, and eventually, acceptance.  It's likely you're going to be at it for a while, so you might as well have a festive pour and settle in.

It's not just the kids that will need to have things assembled.  Every time I give my mom a gift, her first question is, "Well, how do you work it?"  Yes, yes, I should know by now there will be an orientation period and I'm in charge.  Plugging in, finding Wi-Fi, creating passwords, downloading apps, and fiddling with new gadgets is assembly too.

Some parents are up all night assembling gifts on Christmas Eve, and others start the process after the gifts are opened the next day.  We are Christmas Day people, and usually, my dad is the one to twist all of the screws and insert the batteries.  He loves it, and he keeps winning the job every year.  Grandpas are the best.

The ScaryMommy blog posted The 5 Stages of Christmas Eve Toy Assembly several years ago and updated it last year.  It's worth highlighting again because we can SO relate.

1. Denial.  It can't possibly take more than an hour.  The right parts will be included and all the right batteries have been purchased.  What could possibly go wrong?

2. Blame.  It's got to be someone's fault for not having this together sooner.  And someone needs to do a better job of differentiating between the kids' wants and needs because this is clearly not the latter.

3. Reminiscing.  You flashback to "the peace of Christmas Eve before children, just the two of us, a roaring fire, a dinner that did not contain a nugget shaped anything, and nothing to put together while we’re half-asleep."  Getting caught in that low-stress loop adds time to the assembly process.

4. “We’re Done Having Kids.”  As the blog puts it, this "usually happens two or three kids in, sometime after 2 a.m, with bleary eyes and impatiently angry voices."

5. Acceptance.  Conversations are over, you get determined, and just make it happen.  It's a flurry of activity.  The holes may or may not be pre-drilled, but you shove that drill in there and git er done.

Whether it's 68 minutes or 168, it will all be worth it.  It's creating great memories, with?  Even if you do end up exhausted.

CHECK THEM OUT: 100 years of Christmas toys, gifts and fads

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