Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas

Every family has their holiday traditions.  When I was growing up we had a strict standard operating procedure that was to be followed for opening Christmas presents.  I know that sounds rigid . . . it wasn’t really that stringent.  There was no mad dash to the tree where it was everyone for themselves, paper and ribbons flying, piles of gifts everywhere.  There most certainly was a specific order to the way we did things.

Of course, us kids were up at o'dark-thirty  . . . that is to say, a ridiculously early hour in the morning.  We would bounce around with excitement trying to wake our mother up without making it seem like we were trying to wake her up.    we had to be careful because if she woke up on the wrong side of the bed that would only delay opening of the gifts.  It was bad enough that she had to have a cup of coffee before the melee began . . . and we had to wait until she finished it to start.  It was pure unadulterated torture. 

When she was good and ready, my sister and I would sit in front of the tree barely containing our enthusiasm while mom sat on the couch.  First we would get to open our stockings.  

Mom always filled them with all sorts of fun little things like miniature Slinkies, Silly Putty, Mad Libs, playing cards and that sort of thing.  And then we had to put everything back in the stockings before we moved on to the main pile of loot.

One of us would play Santa and pass around one gift per person.  We would take turns.  First we would have to guess what was inside, then we could open the present.  We would have to say who it was from and then after it was opened display it so that everyone could see what it was.  Then “Santa” would pass out the next round of gifts and on and on until they were all opened.

As we’ve grown older things have changed we’ve tried to keep the traditions.  But with the addition of spouses and our own children it becomes a really lengthy process; one year it took several hours.  So, we’ve had to modify the way we open our gifts so it doesn’t take all day, but we still try to make sure everyone knows who gave what to whom and gets to see what everyone else got.

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." -- Peg Bracken 

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