Time To Open Presents


Santa had barely made it up the chimney before my brothers and I would tiptoe down the stairs. “Behold the magic” isn’t too silly a phrase to describe the way we viewed the scene. The lights glowed on a jumble of pretty packages. Even if the bulk of the gifts would likely turn out to be mittens, we were thrilled with anticipation. We shook, squeezed, and made cautious guesses about what was inside, but knew we had to wait ’til it was Time to Open Presents.

Years later, when my own children had to be prodded awake on Christmas morning, it was a letdown. I’d wake up, expecting to hear muffled whispers and excited giggles, but the house was silent. On other mornings my five-year-old daughter was up and chatting, wanting her hair braided before I had both eyes open. Christmas day, she snoozed on. Well, at least I could get the coffee started before the kids tore into their packages.

I passed the door of my seven-year-old son’s room. He too was in dreamland, but what was going on in there? In a room ordinarily kept shipshape, the bed was littered with paper and bows. In one hand he clutched an action figure and a building set lay on the pillow next to his head. Sometime in the night he had gone downstairs, brought back his presents, opened every one of them, and gone back to sleep. As though Time to Open Presents had been repealed or something.

Thinking fast, I put all the new toys in a garbage bag, lugged it downstairs and placed it under the tree. When it was officially Time to Open Presents, protocol was observed. First his sister unwrapped a fashion doll, then Aaron reached in the garbage bag and pulled out the action figure. Girl opens jewelry-making kit; boy pulls out battleship game. Hair goodies; butterfly net. Game; tiny airplanes.

We used the garbage bag to gather up paper and ribbons and went on to have a wonderful day.

My son’s coming home for Christmas this year. I’m happy. Now that everyone’s grown up, I can let go of “beholding the magic” and just relax.  Yeah, I’m not worried about a thing. I have this bell that I’m going to put on his door…

(christmas lights courtesy of artur84/ freedigitalphotos.net presents courtesy of zirconicusso/ freedigitalphotos.net)