Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Traditions and Memories, Part 3 - Christmas Morning

Christmas morning. To a kid, that's the best day of the whole dang year. Even better than the first day of summer! To my Dad and I, who are still perpetual children and refuse to grow up at Christmas time, it's still a time of wonder, joy, and obnoxiousness, much to my Mom's (and hubby's) dismay.

As a child, we were Santa's last stop on the route. Because of that, we were strictly forbidden from getting up before 7:00 on Christmas morning. Santa and my parents had a deal worked out so that he only brought our stockings - everything else came from him. So we'd already have seen all the gifts under the tree, it was just our stockings that were new. They were the only things we were allowed to look at before breakfast, so that was great!

One year, I woke up VERY excited, somehow convinced that it was 8:00 and we'd all overslept. I do that sometimes - wake up all confused about the time. Once in college I was up and in the shower, thinking I was late for a test, before I realized it was only 2 a.m. But I digress...

There I was, thinking it was 8:00, VERY concerned that we were missing Christmas. So I woke up my brothers, and we all raced upstairs. We were making all kinds of racket (and fortunately Santa had come early that year) when my parents came out and informed us it was 4:00 in the morning and we'd better get our butts back to bed or Santa was coming to take everything away! Oh, my brothers were mad at me that year!

My stockings held similar things every year. There was always an orange in the toe. In my earlier years, there was always a coloring book and crayons or markers. When I was a teenager, there was always a kid's toy of some sort, but also Wet 'N' Wild lipstick and nail polish in matching shades. And then there was candy, and other assorted goodies.

After we opened our stockings, we had to eat breakfast before we could open our gifts. Breakfast was always something sweet. Mom made the best cinnamon rolls and butterhorns around (Mom's butterhorns were basically cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon), and would make dozens of them in the days leading up to Christmas. She'd give some to the neighbors and other friends in town, and most years, we'd have them for Christmas breakfast. My brothers and I would fight over who got the piece with the most icing. As a kid, I could never figure out why Mom didn't just put extra icing out to prevent the arguments. As an adult, I completely understand the need to not add extra sugar to an already hyped-up situation!

Once in a while, for whatever reason, we didn't have cinnamon rolls. Then mom would make coffeecake, which was just as good. Love Mom's coffee cake! It was just a basic recipe, out of the Betty Crocker cookbook. It didn't have anything fancy, no yeast, no sour cream, just flour, sugar, butter, and that streuselly topping. But it was ambrosia to us!

After breakfast, it was time to open presents. We have a tradition in my family that I absolutely love - we open gifts one at a time, so that everyone can see what everyone else is getting. We never had tons of presents, everyone probably got four or five, so this made the giving celebration last much longer. In hubby's family, everyone opens things all at once, and it's just not the same.

After gifts, the wrapping paper was put away for recycling, ribbons and bows were straightened and tucked away for next Christmas (Mom's a saver!), and then it was time to play with our new gifts until dinner time.

As an adult, of course, things are a little different. Hubby and I wake up Christmas morning and, if we've bought gifts for each other, we open them (this year we did one huge gift that covered the whole year). I make us a nice breakfast, and we have a quiet morning. Then in the early afternoon we head over to Mom and Dad's (having been with hubby's family on Christmas Eve), where Dad and I run around like the little brats that we are and continually ask Mom "can we open our gifts yet? When's it time to open presents? Moooooooooooom! I want to open my presents NOOOOOOOOW!" Wouldn't want Mom to mistakenly think that we'd matured during the year or anything!

Then the rest of our family shows up and it's on with the gift giving!

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