After leaving all family and friends behind in the U.K. many years ago, my husband and I had the privilege of not only recreating some of our beloved childhood traditions, but also dreaming up some new ones for our children. Most were intentional, but a few just “happened” and have stuck with us, becoming as familiar as old Santa himself!
Christmas morning is basically a mass of glorious weirdness. Basking in the afterglow of the heartwarming Christmas Eve service, followed by us watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” in our shiny new pajamas, I’m all nostalgic and loving my family with extra gusto. Also, it’s the one day in the entire year that I am officially a “morning person”. Seriously. On December 25, when my poor husband has been on Santa’s-helper-duty filling stockings at the end of all the beds and is somewhat lacking in sleep, I am up and at ‘em as early as 4am. He usually compromises by letting me open one gift from my stocking—if I promise to go back to sleep for a few more hours and not wake up the kids! Sidenote: when I say kids, they are currently 18, 20, and a married 25-year-old!
I may or may not go and awaken my poor children at an alarmingly early hour and drag them all into our room for the fun to begin. This went down well when they were eight years old, but now that they’re adults, it’s verging on the awkward. Regardless, we all pile on our bed and open stocking gifts from sweet Santa. Yes, we are all still eight years old at Christmas.
Many ooh’s and ahh’s later, we head downstairs to the Christmas tree for the major present opening ceremony. It’s a bit of a free-for-all with the English bulldog joining in the festivities, but we are getting better at making it an orderly experience. Being one of four crazy girls, I have memories of very loud, screechy Christmas mornings, but thankfully my husband’s incredibly civil upbringing has restored balance to our own celebrations!
And lastly, possibly our weirdest tradition: the Christmas breakfast. I feel a tad guilty sometimes when I see recipes for fabulous breakfast fare when I know I HAVE to feed my family this bizarre concoction. Quite honestly, I don’t know how it came about, but it’s been in my family for at least four generations. I’d like to blame it on a British quirk, but I’m pretty sure we are the only family in the entire world who does this. Honestly, it’s a bit of an effort to eat it first thing in the morning, but “stiff upper lip” and all that: ham sandwiches, potato chips, and pickled onions (the big, strong, fat variety, if you please.) I have no explanation, but it just feels like Christmas morning to me. And so, the Thomas household has learned to suck it up, and endure the quirky breakfast for the sake of my extended family, knowing that many miles away, they too are chowing down on pickled onions for breaky. Plus let’s be real, the promise of turkey is right on the horizon…
So that’s what you would see on a typical Christmas morning in the Thomas house. Christmas Eve sets the scene for remembering the greatest gift ever given in the form of Jesus, and the Father’s love is celebrated well on Christmas Day. “Joy to the World” is a reality we choose to accept and embrace—wishing you His joy this season!
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