Christmas Traditions: Opening Presents

Growing up we always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, except twice.

Once was the year one of my parents had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so we celebrated Christmas Eve day. We were sent to bed to nap, my brother and I. But, of course, we didn’t nap. We were so grown-up, about four and five. I heard the door opening and rolled over to face the wall, but C didn’t hear it, so he kept talking. He got in trouble with our dad, who had come in to check on us. He didn’t snitch or anything, though. Then the door shut and I rolled over again. But Dad was on the inside of the door and I was caught. He left. Not too long after that C and I heard jingle bells and we bounced up on our beds and peered out the windows to see Santa.

Once was the year I was 13. All year long I had been asking for boots for Christmas. But we didn’t have a lot of money, so I didn’t expect to get them. All the other kids got up early, but when they called me, I couldn’t get out of bed. My back was hurting. They told me to come down anyway. So I rolled onto the floor, crawled to the stairs, slid down the stairs face first, and crawled into the living room to rest my back against the cold marble fireplace. My dad handed me three boxes. I got white boots. I got brown boots. I got black boots. But my back hurt so badly that I just sat there and cried. My dad was worried that I didn’t like them. I did. My back just hurt. (I spent six days over the two week Christmas break in the hospital and they never were able to actually say what the problem was.)

I always hoped I would marry someone who opened their presents on Christmas Eve as well. And I did.

That’s one of the few Christmas traditions we have.