Our tradition has always been that the children wake up early on Christmas Day, peek in their stockings to see if good old St. Nick returned and then get ready for morning Mass. It is such a quiet, uncrowded Mass. The monks at the Abbey who have already said Midnight Mass and celebrated the arrival of the Christ Child are allowed to sleep through their usual 6am call to morning prayer so they join in community to say them right before Mass. It is beautiful to get to hear their chanting as you arrive for Mass on such a special day.
|Off to church!|
After Mass, the priests are usually still a little sleepy (maybe even a little slaphappy) but very cheerful and happy to socialize. One of the older Hungarian priests told us he was without any hot tamales this year. He made sure we understood that he liked them HOT! Not hot from the oven, HOT as in SPICY!!! Our friend, Fr. R. who grew up in San Francisco very much enjoyed the Ghirardelli chocolates we gave him. He passed the bag around to everyone who walked by saying "These are authentic San Francisco candies!"
We came home, put brunch in the oven (ham and egg cups, toasted English muffins, cinnamon rolls, left over Nutella Dream-Cheese Ball, clementines, biscotti and coffee) and then sat down to open some gifts.
The first gift we open is always the best gift. I usually place all of the baby Jesus's from the nativity sets we have on display (we have too many to count and don't always set them all out) in a wrapped or decorated box. The youngest child gets to open it. Once all of the baby Jesus's are all snug in their mangers, we move on to the other gifts.
My favorite part of the day was when the children opened the stack of books we had picked out for each of them. Some were books they had already read but that we didn't own copies of and some were new surprises.
A hush fell over the house.
Not even the tempting call of bigger presents under the tree could pull them away.
Food however, did get their attention... if they could bring their books.
Guess what she wanted for Christmas...
She got it!