The Joy of Christmas Morning

Christmas morning can mean different things to different people. It could be attending church, a big family breakfast or loading up the car to visit relatives. But as a kid, for me, Christmas morning always meant presents from Santa and family.

img_1152I remember racing into the living room, eyes wide at whatever Santa had delivered overnight. Within the hour, the room would be full of toys and discarded wrapping paper.

And now that I am a parent, I get to watch my kids have that same joy. My daughter’s face still lights up when she talks about Santa. Big smiles crack both of their faces as they pull out goodies from their stockings or tear into the gift Santa left them.

And then it is the agony of waiting for family to show before they can dig into all the other presents around the Christmas tree.

Yes, Christmas morning is definitely something the kids greatly anticipate. And so do I. I love watching them open their presents. I love to see the joy on their face and their excited squeals.

And of course I hope that they love and appreciate their presents and there is no lament about some items they didn’t get (such as the pug puppy Lexie wanted).

It is hard to figure out sometimes what the kids really want. An item they have been talking about for months could be easily discarded for some other item. And the item you bought knowing they would love it could, in fact, not be more than a quick exclamation before going on to open the next gift.

Of course, there is more to Christmas than a toy overload for the kids. I don’t want my kids to think that is all about them. I want them to know the joy of giving to others too. That is why we help cultivate the spirit of giving by participating each year in the school’s Angel tree program.

We pick two children with similar ages/interest and then let them buy those children toys while I pick out some new clothes for the kids. My children always balk at the idea of giving or receiving clothes as a Christmas present, but I explain that these children have very little and that a new pair of shoes might be the best thing for them. I am never sure they fully understand, but that doesn’t stop us from donating clothes and toys each year.

Handprint ornament from Lexie in 2013

Handprint ornament from Lexie in 2013

And it isn’t like my children are only centered on the gifts they receive Christmas morning. Each year, they both give us a present they made in school (such as a framed picture they drew, an ornament with their hand print or whatever that year’s project turned out to be.) And whenever we go to open those, they dropped whatever they were doing to watch us and then add some sort of explanation about the gift.

Then they are back to their pile of toys. It is back to playing, smiling and enjoying Christmas morning and all the joy it brings.

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