The Joys of Christmas Morning

The Joys of Christmas Morning
by Jennifer LB Leese

No matter what your age, there's nothing like Christmas morning.
I remember, as a child, going to bed on Christmas Eve giggly, full of anticipation and hope. I'd lie there, forcing my eyes to close, wondering what Santa would bring. Then I'd start to question--did Santa receive my Christmas list? Those thoughts would transform into--if he hadn't, what would he bring me? How would he know what I wanted? Would he leave in time to drop presents off to every child in the world? How exactly did he do that anyway? While these thoughts ran through my head, sleep eventually took over.
I'd wake the next morning with a new doll or stuffed animal in the crook of my arm and realize that Santa had come! I'd call out to my brothers as I dashed past their bedrooms, stopping at the top of the stairs barely able to control myself. "Hurry!" I'd yell as I waited. (My brothers and I always waited for each other. I don't remember when that first time occurred...but we kept it that way for a very long time--no one was seeing the Christmas delights before the other.)
The minute our little feet hit the bottom step, Christmas morning breakfast smells poured from the kitchen. Mom and our step-dad, Gene, usually made blueberry or banana pancakes, pudding, eggs, and scrapple.
Christmas music played softly in the background. Our Christmas mornings were right out of a movie!
The excitement of the day exploded in each of us and we'd rush to our "piles". Santa was not only generous in his giving, he also took the time to eat the sugar cookies and drink the milk we had left for him the night before, and he had time to spare for putting our toys/presents into three piles--one for Michael, one for Jennifer, and one for Jason. Santa was the best!
Within moments all packages were open and we were searching for batteries.
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"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."--Erma Bombeck
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As we learn over the years, Christmas isn't just for toys...it is a season of customs and rituals that bring joy and happiness. It is a season of forgiveness, love, faith, happiness, joy, selflessness, and understanding.
Now as a mother of three, I look forward to watching the faces of my three children as they rip and tear into the pretty packages.
Our tradition begins December 15 when we put up our Christmas tree and decorations. When I moved here at the age of nine from my birth town in Virginia, we put up our tree on December 15. We have continued that tradition yearly. After roasting of marshmallows by the fire, listening to Christmas music, and playing a game of "Monopoly" or "Scene-It" my kids gather around their dad as he reads "The Night Before Christmas" and selected Christmas stories from an anthology. They are allowed to open one present each from Mom and Dad a few hours before bed.
My Christmas traditions as a child were comforting and memorable. Now as an adult, my husband and I have taken the time to make sure that my children have that same safe and comforting environment on such a special holiday. My little ones like to stand around the sparkling Christmas tree and sing Christmas songs (or the lines they know). They love to help me bake Santa's cookies; and hang the stockings on the fireplace.
As with many households, Christmas morning in my house is exciting. The kids jump out of bed before sunrise and holler, "Wake up, Santa came!" As I did when I was little, they too wait for each other at the top of the stairs. They take a few seconds to gaze upon the glorious presents under the dancing Christmas lights, wondering what's inside.
Within minutes, red and green bows fly through the air...snowman and reindeer wrap crumble under your feet...'Look what I got' is called out at random...dogs tramping around with their new toys in their mouths, and kids so excited that if they opened another gift that was 'just what they wanted' they just may pop.
Boy there's nothing like Christmas morning!
Hours later, after a hearty breakfast, the kids lay amongst the open boxes and wrappings playing with their new toys and gadgets. As their father and I sit back and watch their happy little faces, we hear music streaming from Nicholas' new iPod, sirens from Cameron's new fire truck, and giggling noises coming from Jordan's new amazing baby doll.
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"He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree."--Sunshine Magazine
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By the time evening arrives, whether we're cooking Christmas dinner for everyone, or they come to our house, our spirits are still high as we maintain the Christmas buzz.
Dinner goes off without a hitch, then we're gathered around the living room, blazing fire warming us, to watch our three favorite Christmas shows--"How the Grinch Stole Christmas", "Charlie Brown's Christmas Special", and "A Christmas Story".
It's Christmas time! All the senses are used to describe this joyous holiday. The sight of children opening their presents under the tree, the hearing of friendly neighbors bidding you a good morning, the delicious smells and tastes of the kitchen, and the feel of a child's hand on yours, all are just some of the wonderful ways Christmas displays itself.
While each Christmas is a new and wonderful time to spend with our family and friends, I'm sure we can all remember a special Christmas from the past. It may be a childhood Christmas, a Christmas with our first love, or Christmases with our children. Whatever the memory or memories these past Christmases bring, it is such a joy to look back and reminisce on those sweet Christmas memories.
Christmas is for children young and old. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you; may you find peace, happiness, and receive an abundance of family love.
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"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."--Dr. Seuss
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