So in my family we have a tradition. We return from Church, munch what has managed to stay out on the breakfast table, then, after hassling mum to leave the turkey and come and sit down, we all pile onto the sofa around the Christmas tree. My brother squats by the presents, my twin sits by Mum, i’m cuddled next to Dad, and he’s on the inside edge of the sofa. Dad generally shares something, a Christmas message which works to refocus our attention away from the gift wrapped surprises and up closer, if not to heaven, then to our fellow humans. We pray together as a family, and give thanks for what Christ did for us, then, then it begins. We have a routine – you don’t mess the routine up. Ever.
It goes like this:
Bro rustles under the Christmas tree and extracts a present. He then passes said present to Dad. Dad reads out the name, feels the present, and then attempts to tell you what it is, thus defeating the point of opening the present. Sometimes he actually knows what’s inside it, and who it’s from, it’ll be something like this:
Dad: Oh-ho. This is for [insert child’s name]. I think…this is the present your Mum got you? Is this the book yes?
To which my mother replies
Mum: Baba, you’re spoiling Christmas
To which my Dad upturns his mouth and slaps his hands together with a shrug, murmuring, Oohh…in his old man voice.
At first it was slightly frustrating. The surprise was taken out of the occasion. But then it became something we all looked forward to, it became part of our Christmas tradition.