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Christmas morning joy

Posted: December 23, 2013 11:19 a.m.
Updated: December 24, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Christmas morning is a time for family, food and tradition. It’s such a beautiful and special occurrence and I love that this year we have a new addition to our Christmas morning tradition -- my adorable, precious and perfect nephew, Harrison.

My mom always has a camera ready, for any event, and now that Harrison is in our world, the camera never rests. I’m sure Christmas morning will provide countless opportunities for impromptu photo shoots. My mom’s latest thing is to have Harrison wear various festive hats that somehow resemble the season. We had a nice pumpkin hat for Halloween, a turkey hat for Thanksgiving, reindeer antlers for Christmas and most recently, a hat that resembles a seat cushion that my mom calls his elf hat. It looks pretty darling on him; I think he resembles a baby version of King Henry VIII more than he resembles an elf, but who’s checking?

Our family tradition has been that, no matter what else we have going on, we are all together on Christmas morning. When we can, we spend the night at my mom’s house, but sometimes that just can’t happen. One very special treat for me when I do spend Christmas eve at my mom’s is being awoken by her singing Mariah Carey Christmas tunes beginning around 6 a.m. That’s if she’s been able to contain her excitement enough to “sleep in.” If she could have it her way, we’d all be up at 5 a.m., every day of the year -- not just Christmas -- and in bed by 8 o’clock every night. Guess that’s just a good mom for you.

So, with a bit of griping, my sisters and I get out of bed with the rooster’s crow and shamble into the den where Santa has deposited our various treasures for us. At this point my mom has had two cups of coffee and she’s scurrying all around, handing out presents and, of course, snapping pictures.

Christmas morning pictures have to be some of the most unattractive pictures in my life. There comes a time … right around the teenage years … where people just stop looking cute first thing in the morning. I can’t tell you how many Christmas morning pictures we have of me with wild matted hair, absolutely no makeup on and sporting my glasses because it’s just too early to force my contacts in my eyes at that point.

My mom will always say, “You look beautiful,” and I appreciate her support, but I prefer to have done some sort of “getting ready” activity before stepping into a photo shoot.

At some point during the present opening, my dad will stop in and join us for a bit. Like my mom, he’s an eternal morning person and is always just brimming with Christmas cheer.

After presents have been dispersed and Christmas paper cleaned up, it’s time for breakfast. Every year of my life since I was born I’ve done the same thing for Christmas breakfast: go over to my Mema’s house and eat with all my cousins, aunts and uncles. We’re a pretty good-sized group when we’re all together and we all love Christmas breakfast. The breakfast casserole that my aunt makes is so good, it could make you cry.

After breakfast, we open presents, take more pictures and then all voyage back to our own homes to spend the day relaxing and sleeping off the breakfast calories and 6 a.m. wake up call.

I wouldn’t trade my tradition for anything in the world. And there’s nowhere else I’d want to be on Christmas than in my hometown with my family. To everyone out there reading this today, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas! I hope you all have plenty of cheer and breakfast casserole!

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