Christmas Past

Christmas Eve Morning always takes me back to the same memory:

When I was about eight, we lived in a little rental house across the street from my elementary school. It was the first house Joon and I had ever lived in, and the exuberant joy that comes from being able to run in the house without the downstairs neighbors banging on the ceiling is simply indescribable.

My immediate family always opens presents on Christmas Eve. This is because we never lived near any relatives who tried to tie us to tradition, so two whiny kids always win out over the big Christmas Morning Reveal.

(Although, when we did finally spend Christmas with my grandparents, they were SHOCKED AND APPALLED at such unseemly behavior. And then my parents were like, "Whatever; they're KIDS." So when my dad retired from the Navy and we moved to Flower Country, we Junior Flowers continued our tradition over much complaining from my dumb Aunt Jane, who would rather have us open our presents one day at a time until New Year's. THAT IS A BAD IDEA.)

Anyway, when I was eight and Joon was six, we COULD NOT WAIT for Christmas in our new house. I mean, that was probably the most excited I had ever been, or have ever been since, when I think about it. And we both woke up at about six o'clock on Christmas Eve Morning and beeeggged our parents to let us open our presents.

And we won. We opened presents.

I don't remember most of the presents I got that year. I do remember that my grandma--a professional garage sale-er--sent me the best present ever: a set of sixteen hardback Nancy Drew books. Those were my favorite books for AGES, and my favorite was Nancy Drew and the Whispering Statue, because after Nancy got locked up in a statue that LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE HER, Ned Nickerson came to her rescue and got her out and picked her up and carried her to her friends and sigh. That is a good book.

That evening, we were all sitting around our kerosene heater in the middle of the living room; the lights were glowing on the tree, highlighting the clothespin reindeer and toilet-paper-roll angels we made in school, and ... I threw up. Like, EVERYWHERE. There was a tidal wave of puke in our living room that year. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

When my mom was tucking me into bed and rubbing my back to help me go to sleep, she leaned over and said, "Aren't we lucky we opened our presents this morning?" Yes. Yes, we were. The luckiest family in the world.

Merry Christmas!

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