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Christmas for the Ages

    All right, you tell me: who'll be the first one up this Christmas morning?

    For the past eighteen years the waking hour on December 25th in our house has been 6:30 AM, give or take a few minutes.  After a few teasing complaints to a couple of boys, about how it's too early and Santa couldn't possibly have come, I have dragged myself and my dog out of bed, limped down the stairs, set the coffee pot percolating, and, after ignoring several impassioned entreaties to find a place near the tree in the living room, participated in the ritual oohing and aahing as presents are opened. 

    I suspect this year that ritual will be ignored. Not the dragging or the percolating or the teasing: I'm too old to change.  It's the 6:30 AM hour which will be the casualty.  Thank God and the genetic imperative of young adults to sleep as late as Mom allows.  Even on Christmas day. 

    Hints of this scenario can be seen ten days early.  Boxes with presents for the twins have been arriving daily by UPS and USPS, their contents strewn on the study floor in anticipation of wrapping. The gifts match the lists sent earlier (as Email attachments, complete with hyperlinks to the precise item, style and color!).  Whereas on other Christmas mornings the emphasis was electronic, this year it will be couture and haberdashery.  Who'da thought that sweaters and down jackets would replace XBoxes?

    Then I see the earnest of my own present pile, a box from our Massachusetts daughter and her family.  Guess its contents.  Imagine her quandary.  What can you get an old man who has everything?  Not something he could wear.  A tie, maybe, but he already has two tie racks with over a hundred ties.  You gift him with the standbys I provided my own Dad in his majority: food.  On Christmas morning when others are sucking on candy canes I'll be noshing on cashews and olives. 

    Barbara and I long ago agreed to forgo gifts to each other.  But this year we are breaking the agreement.  She will give me and I shall give her a trip up the Rhine and through the Alps in late June 2011. When there we'll be on the lookout for traces of Sinter Klass, Pere Noel, and Weinachtsmann.



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