Whether you finished your Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, or you’re like most of us that finished wrapping the last present at 1am Christmas day, we can all appreciate that moment when the prepping is done.
On Christmas Eve this year, I lay my weary body down in my soft comfy bed, appreciating the fluffy pillow for all of five seconds before remembering I need to take the butter braids out of the freezer.
Back in bed 15 minutes later, I thoroughly enjoy the next few blissful hours of sleep before feeling a hand on my shoulder.
“Mom,” says my oldest in a hushed tone. I can hear the other boys’ rapid footsteps coming down the hall.
There’s so much history and meaning wrapped between those three words. Like the way the kids wait until 6am, the long-ago agreed upon time when it’s allowed to wake the parents. And the soft yet urgent voices they use, almost reverently, in honor of one of their most favorite mornings of the year.
I feel so very tired, but so very thankful.
We all make our way downstairs, wearing our Christmas pajamas (the one gift we open on Christmas Eve). My oldest asks where the Santa hat is, because of course you must wear the Santa hat while handing out presents.
You know something’s become a tradition when the kids start asking for it like it’s just a normal thing.
I get the breakfast casserole and the butter braids in the oven, my husband and I make our coffee, and we eventually all settle down with blankets and smiles and sparkling eyes to start opening presents.
I love that my husband and I can be here for this, that we get to experience this, that we created this.
The coffee smells good. The food in the oven smells even better.
The warmth of the moment, though -- this culmination of years of (sometimes stressful and exhaustive) planning and dedicated repetition, all to create a “Christmas morning” story for our family to recall forever more because it’s been cemented in our memory -- this is the gift we parents work on each year, and it’s the one I’ll remember most.