Sunday, December 25, 2005

Not a Creature is Stirring

It's 8am. I've been up for about an hour, doing dishes and laundry, and trying to get the house clean enough so we can take Christmas photos in it. (They'll still have to be extensively cropped.)

The kids, all three of the lazy little good-for-nothings, are sleeping. What's up with that?!?

You know, I was a champion sleeper-inner, in my day. I could stay in bed till 2pm, easy. 10am on a Saturday or Sunday was absurdly early. The school year was always incredibly difficult - it took years, upon years, upon years to get my sleep schedule in line with "normal" people's (though I do seem at last to have accomplished it).

But Christmas morning? Oh, I was up!

My grandparents - arise-at-the-break-of-dawn, farm people - had a rule for Christmas. The kids were allowed to get up as early as they liked, without disturbing the adults, and plunder their stockings quietly back in bed. Presents had to wait until a decent hour, after everyone was awake, dressed, presentable, AND fed. We had Christmas dinner, the full deal, turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and, inexplicably, soybeans; and presents were not opened until afterwards. Then we sat around the tree and the youngest of the cousins played "Santa" and distributed the presents, one by one; tape was slit with a penknife and the paper carefully folded up and put away for future use (my grandparents came of age during the Depression), sincere thanks were expressed as each present was held up or passed around for general inspection, and Grandmother wrote down on a notepad who gave what to whom. The process could take hours.

My in-laws, who I believe I have mentioned are actually a barbarian horde, take about 90 seconds to complete the gift-opening process. You know how, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Peanuts gang surrounds a sad, pathetic-looking shrub and waves their hands in the air and steps back and there's a fully-decorated tree?

Imagine that the shrub is the biggest pile of more presents you've ever seen, and that the end product is mayhem and chaos on an unprecedented scale, with wrapping paper everywhere. It's Christmas carnage.

That's later on our agenda for today. We're home now, and we'll open our presents and then have breakfast and shower and get dressed, then head up to San Antonio for Phase II, with the in-laws.

If the kids will ever wake up!


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