Feel the peace and love
Then pass them to another
Hugs work miracles.
From our home to yours
With hearts full of gratitude
Merry Christmas, all.
In my childhood home we opened gifts from one another on Christmas Eve then Santa came as we slept that night to leave presents under our tree and in our stockings. Sleeping on Christmas Eve was a tricky thing. We always wanted to stay awake and listen for reindeer hooves on the roof, but we knew Santa wouldn’t come while we were still awake.
My brothers and I would whisper and giggle for as long as possible, listening to the adults visit in the nearby living room. It was a delicious feeling of anticipation. Almost unbearable in a way that nothing else can ever be.
Sleep always overtook us before Santa appeared, but we were up before the sun rose over the flat Texas panhandle trying to figure out the best way to get our parents up. There was a rule in the Hall household on Christmas morn:
Parents were required by the powers that be to make certain Santa had indeed visited. Children were by no means to enter the living room before confirmation was made.
Fortunately, Studly Doright’s family celebrated Christmas in a similar manner, so merging our traditions was easy. We only tangled on issues of opening presents early on Christmas Eve day. I was rigid–no opening until after dark. Studly was flexible and could be cajoled into allowing one gift to be opened. Guess who was the kids’ favorite parent? Take your time. (Hint: It wasn’t me.)
Christmas Day was spent playing with our new toys and reading new books, eating turkey and dressing and Christmas desserts. The best day of the entire year.
It was only late on Christmas Day that I’d remember the why of Christmas Day. Oh, we’d sung carols and participated in Nativity scenes, placed baby Jesus in the manger. But somehow it felt like the big day had been Christmas Eve when Christmas Day was the celebration of Christ’s birth. (Yes, I know it was a pagan celebration adopted by Christians as they absorbed cultures into the fold, but it’s the marking of the event that counts, not the exact day.)
Ahem. So, before falling asleep at the end of Christmas Day I always make sure to contemplate the Christmas story, to thank God the Father for sending His son. Really, the only present we need.