Christmas at the Steve house is the same yet different.  For one, I have a daughter who has crossed over from girl to woman, entered in the adult drawing for the gift exchange with my side of the family.  She has lamented that a bit, the realization that she opens one present and gives one, the focus now on the two little ones and Nate as they open the presents they received from everyone.  It’s OK with her, judging from what I observed this morning as we opened presents from her that she had placed under the Henry tree.  Christmas is more about giving for her, although her mother and I also spoiled her with lots of gifts under the tree.  She also spoiled us.  Nate had a good morning also, with lots of good stuff for him also.

This Christmas morning was a good one.  Another difference from years past is that we all slept in, no more children awake at the butt crack of dawn (BCD as termed by my bike riding buddies for our early Saturday morning rides).  Alyssa is 18.  Nate is 15.  Last night we agreed that we would wait to gather around the tree at 10:30 this morning.  No one rushed.  No one ran down the halls screaming for the others to wake up and open presents.  Presents were wrapped and placed under the tree on Christmas eve, waiting for us along with the stockings that Santa stuffed over night.  The living room was quiet as I plugged in the lights on the tree, sat back on the couch, observed the scene in front of me, a scene that included a peacefully curled up Chester the cat.  It was nice.

I slept until 8 Christmas morning, a late sleep for me.  Our tradition for Christmas morning is to have a feast of cinnamon rolls, a tradition that started when Mir and I were newlywed, her family recipe for home made rolls shared with my family.  That is a lot of work, for those who have experience making their own rolls.  A few years ago, we switched to fresh baked cinnamon rolls out of the popping can.  Much easier but smelling almost as good.  Yesterday, I had to go bake the rolls at the apartment my company rented for our recently departed Hungarian office manager (she’s alive, but a homesick Maria returned to Budapest).  Our oven is on the fritz.

Santa Steve burst through the front door a little after ten, hot cinnamon rolls in hand, all intact even after the drive from the apartment to our house.  Driving with the aroma of cinnamon rolls filling the cabin is similar to picking up the pizza, except I almost always take a slice of pizza during the drive home.  Our kids were just stumbling out of bed, still zombies from staying up way too late, something they each do when there is a prolonged break from school.  We each grabbed a plate and rolls, a cup of coffee or milk, and entered the living room to witness the opening of presents.

Civilized is the best way to describe the way we approached our present giving and receiving.  This year I was able to orchestrate the distribution, asking one person to bring a present that they were giving to the recipient.  We watched as one present at a time was opened.

There was no bike for me, just in case someone might be wondering.

Alyssa wanted a copy of Monty Python’s Holy Grail.  We watched it together after the presents were opened, quoting lines before they were spoken on the screen in front of us.  Not a Christmas movie?  To that I say ‘NEE’!!!

We had a nice dinner of beef bbq with Mir’s sister and her family.  Once again, nice.

And we continued what looks to be a new tradition — seeing a movie together at the theater.  Last year we saw a movie.  Last night we saw ‘Unbroken’.  I recommend the movie but don’t go expecting to leave amidst a WOW chorus.

Oh, and perhaps one of my favorite things of all — my present for Nate.  713Any Chicago Bull fan from the 90’s knows whose jersey this one is…

The cat was all snuggled and warm, dreaming of presents opened, wrapping paper and bags aplenty.

The cat was all snuggled and warm, dreaming of presents opened, wrapping paper and bags aplenty.