Christmas pajamas, little brother and sister banging on my door, mom wrapping last minute presents, locking the door for a few more precious minutes of sleep... these are the traditions that make up Christmas morning in the Richards' house. Then one person is appointed Santa (Jake got to do it this year) and the opening begins. Stockings first, then the small and thoughtful presents are passed around one person at a time so that everyone can see. Each of us gets all smiley and proud as someone else opens a gift we carefully picked for them.
My mom always saves one huge present per kid for last. Usually she pulls them out from behind the tree or gets them from her room, but this year she handed the four of us one small box, wrapped in a bow. Inside was a poem; a clue initiating a scavenger hunt for our final presents. The clue sent us to the medicine cabinet and another package. It led us to neighbor family up the street. The third clue took us all the way across town (in our pajamas) to some family friends, whose clues led us to yet another house. Finally, our last clue led us back to the house, where our presents were waiting under the same tree where the hunt had begun. It had to be the most fun (and work) any of us had ever had on Christmas morning.
After all the excitement, we started looking for the Christmas pickle. Finding the small pickle ornament hidden in the tree is an old German tradition. The person who finds the pickle gets an extra present. This year, I found the pickle!
Now, it's my favorite time of the day... when we all settle down on couches or floors to figure out new gadgets. The house is quiet and peaceful. A quick facetime with the Curtises to watch them open their presents. Later we will go to the cousins' house for dinner. Tomorrow the whole extended family will get together for a small gift exchange. It's a blessed life.
We couldn't be more thankful for our families, for the traditions that we enjoy every year, for a peaceful Christmas morning. Most of all, we are thankful for our Savior, the purpose of Christmas, and the gift that He already gave.
Merry Christmas to all! May His love surround you all day everyday.