Special to 0-A News
from Walter Albritton
for Christmas, 1999

The best part of waking up on Christmas morning

Christmas morning! Such excitement that no other morning can compare! No other morning causes little children to bounce out of bed so gleefully, and often before sunrise!

How many times my wife and I remember staying up past midnight only to have our young boys wake us up at six o'clock in the morning to show us what Santa had left them under the tree! Try as we might there was no way to convince them to return to bed. Christmas day had begun!

The time had come to stagger out of bed, put on some coffee, and hope for a nap in the afternoon. Cruel it would be to force eager boys to wait any longer. There were exciting discoveries to be made as our family gathered around the tree to share the awe and wonder of another Christmas morning.

What precious memories we have of those mornings when our boys were growing up. I can still recall the amazed look in their eyes as they examined and took possession of each gift while Mom and I were praying they would be pleased with what we had been able to give them.

Rarely were we able to give them some of the expensive things they wished for, like a "Go Cart" with a gasoline engine. Whenever I see a child with one now, I remember how my boys wanted one. But our budget simply would not stretch that far.

I remember too wanting things when I was a boy that my parents could not afford. And I recall my joy when at last one Christmas my folks were able to give me my first new bicycle. Before that the gift that had thrilled me the most was a BB-Gun. It had been cleverly hidden inside the Christmas tree so that I missed it for a long time.

The wonder of it all is that children are somehow able to accept happily what they do receive. I never remember a child sulking on Christmas day because a particular gift was not under the tree.

We grew up hanging stockings over the fireplace. The stockings had our names inscribed on them. It was such fun to dump out the small items in the stocking, things like gum, candy, apples, oranges, nuts, socks, knives, nail clippers, and sometimes a few dollars.

When I was a little boy my mother always left some fruit cake for Santa. And Santa must have eaten it because the plate was always empty on Christmas morning. I never questioned how jolly old Santa got down our chimney. I suppose mysteries have never really bothered me that much.

Now on Christmas morning we have no little children to get us up early. Our children have children of their own, and at their homes they continue the exciting traditions begun in our home. Mom and I will get up fairly early anyway because old folks just can't sleep very late.

But we have not lost the thrill of sharing those joyous moments when we look under the tree to see what surprises we can find. Old Santa still finds his way to our house to leave a few gifts that cause our aging eyes to sparkle. My wife will smile and hug me and I will grin and hug her because there is simply nothing like Christmas morning.

Then by the time we have scrambled some eggs and cooked some bacon, the grandkids will be banging on the door, shouting "Christmas gift!" And for a few precious moments we will gather around the tree as bright eyes bring joy to our hearts and gifts are exchanged.

Always one of the grandchildren will give me a pair of socks, size 12, and I will look happy as a lark even though I wear size 14. What matters is not the size or the cost of the gift but the joy and the love we share as we celebrate once again being a family. That is what makes Christmas morning such an awesome time!

So when you wake up, pinch yourself and be glad that you are alive to greet another dawn. And remember that the best part of waking up on Christmas morning is not the coffee in your cup, but the love that's in your heart! Hug somebody and rejoice that you have lived to enjoy another morning like no other!

Merry Christmas morning!