Christmas Morning, It’s Childhood All Over Again

Lisa writes: Like every parent I struggle to understand where the years have gone.  I gaze at three full-sized humans towering over me and feel like I just watched a movie on fast forward and would give anything to see it again at normal speed.  And while that might just be a mom fantasy, Christmas morning is the one chance to rewind the tape and watch a small segment of my sons’ childhood played over again.

Christmas Tree, Christmas Gifts

Barbara Brotman of the Chicago Tribune threw out a terrific question, “Anyone else have grown children who turn into excited kiddies at Christmas?” Her family has a wonderful tradition of packing lunch and going off to the zoo, and although her daughters are well into their 20s, the family tradition is going strong.

Her question she got me thinking about why I so love Christmas morning, a ritual new to my life.  The answer I believe is that when we rise on December 25, my family rolls back the clock. For one morning a year I get to gaze upon my grown and nearly grown sons as they once were, small boys bursting with excitement.

It is only on Christmas morning that my kids will rise early with no place they need to be. They spend the day in lounge pants, bed heads abound and breakfast seems to  consist largely of candy.

When I give my kids a birthday present they politely open the wrapping and offer thanks. Christmas morning is a free-for-all with wrapping paper and boxes flying in every direction and three of them shouting and laughing.  In past years we have found unopened gifts the next day, such is the chaos and mess.

In their stockings are the same sweets and childhood gifts that thrilled them every year. It is only on Christmas that a 20-year-old thinks socks, underwear, chocolate and slinkies are a great haul.Christmas morning, Christmas Stocking, Christmas Candy

Every other day of the year there are comings and goings.  Even for other holidays, there are friends and family around, people dropping by, phones ringing and, of course, the kids endlessly texting.  But, Christmas morning the world disappears and we climb into our family cocoon.

I once said that my husband, sons and I have been like a two decade long loving embrace that, now that my sons lives have moved on, can never be the same again.  Except on Christmas morning.



  1. says

    Christmas reminds me of all the fun memories growing up! It is certainly the best day. Looks like you all had so much memories created that will last a long time.

    • says

      So true: my ‘kids’ are now 27 and 19 and they still love getting stocking stuffers, opening presents on Christmas eve, and my 27 yr old always spends the night so he can be there Christmas morning. It is SO important to create rituals/traditions and memories when your children are little, as the years really do fly by…but there is something quite lovely about having adult children who you enjoy spending time with.

  2. says

    I agree! There is something simply magical on Christmas. What a beautiful post, I am so glad you enjoyed your day!

  3. says

    It looks so beautiful and I love being able to share memories with my little ones!

  4. Jennifer Comet Wagner says

    My sons, both in their 20s, still get excited about gifts. However, it isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Maybe that is partly due to celebrating Chanakuh, which isn’t as big and they don’t get tons of presents at once and with one son who has already flown the nest, we aren’t always all together at that time.

  5. Poppy says

    What lovely thoughts! Ever since our first baby was born 33 years ago, we all have piled into our big bed for Christmas morning, opening our stockings amidst rumples of quilts, and freely tossed tissue paper. Now there are 5 of us in the bed, really on top of each other, but this is a tradition we don’t want to let go. What happens when spouse, significant others, and (let me hold my breathe) grandchildren join in? I hear that California king beds are REALLY huge!

  6. says

    I love Christmas for these reasons too. After college it seemed to lose it’s excitement for me but now that my children are 7 & 6 they could barely wait for Christmas morning and it was so fun looking at it all through their eyes.

  7. says

    What an awesome cocoon of a blessing for you to have them all back around the tree again. Mine are spread from Germany to Alaska to Colorado and Oregon this year. I’m looking forward to a Christmas morning soon where we are all together again – because you’re right – there’s something so magical and “rewind” about it. So glad you got to enjoy the togetherness. (love the picture of your 3 sons’ stockings)

  8. says

    “I gaze at three full-sized humans towering over me and feel like I just watched a movie on fast forward and would give anything to see it again at normal speed.” That.
    My kids are in their 40s and my grandkids range from 14 to 22. The older one moved away when she married and has been able to share only a few holidays with us since. But seldom have the younger daughter and her kids missed Christmas Eve and morning with us. This year, we celebrated early at a Chinese buffet so the ex could have them. I won’t say it was sad, but it wasn’t the same.

  9. says

    Christmas morning does indeed feel like one long memorable family hug, doesn’t it? I so enjoy watching my daughters (the two that can come home for Christmas) giggle in glee as they rip open their gifts, happy as can be in their new jammies from the night before. This year, when it was time for us to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, as we’ve done for a couple decades, I asked once again if it’s silly to them to keep doing it now that they’re adults (27 and 30!). They immediately protested and said we can NEVER stop that tradition. That’s perfectly fine with me.
    I hope the holiday was warm and joyous for all. Sweet post, Lisa. ♥

    • says

      So love that your girls want to hold on to those parts of childhood and family life. Long may it last…

  10. says

    Great post! Even I turn into somewhat of a kid on Christmas morning. There is nothing like seeing a smile on child’s face and Christmas morning s the bonus mothers wait for…it’s real and lasts for that 2 minutes on Christmas morning.

    We had an amazing christmas, hope you did as well!

  11. Marcy says

    You’ve captured what is so special about Christmas, while the special qualities of the other holidays have faded as my boys have grown. They still do get excited on Christmas morning, and the whole day is for us to spend together.

  12. says

    My three full grown children gave me the best early-Christmas present of all. They came to dinner and slept over in our family apartment on Christmas Eve, even though they all have places of their own in the same town, now that they are fully educated (for now) and employed (yeah!). So we got to enjoy the wild rumpus of stockings, Christmas pancakes and Christmas presents, as in days of yore. Turns out, they are still my children.


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