My parents never let us open our gifts early, it was always Christmas morning and no earlier than 7 AM. Mom would get up and warm up a Swedish Tea Ring she had made the night before and while we were eating breakfast we were given our stockings to open. Then my brother and I would try to patiently wait while Mom and Dad had their breakfast and coffee.
Our tree was set up in our living room. Dad would sit in his chair and oversee the proceedings. Mom passed out gifts. I remember crying one Christmas because the only thing I asked for was an alarm clock - yeah I know crazy -and I didn't get one. My mother asked me what was wrong and I told her all I really wanted was that clock. She said you got a clock and I said no I did not. That sent mom diving through the tree, then dumping out the garbage that had been used to collect the wrappings, and then finally to her closet muttering under her breath. She dug around for a little and came out with a brown box. Inside the box was my alarm clock, the wind up kind with two bells on top and best of all bright pink. I was so happy, it was later that day I figured out that there was no Santa, well that and the fact that my big brother told me so.