Christmas Morning

It is 6:36 AM on Christmas morning. I’m sitting on our floor chairs with Kai in front of the Christmas tree, presents and fire. I’ve got my tea and he is playing Roblox on his iPad. The lights are on in the fish tank and the turtles are swimming back and forth wondering where their breakfast is. There is never any chance of snow,or even biting cold here in Pacifica but it looks like we can expect rain later on today. I’ll take rain over 60 degrees and sunny as it is a little closer to snow than a sun filled sky.

As I sit here with my son I’m reminded of one of the most magical moments in my life which was also on Christmas morning. I must have been five or six years old and as is normal for children on Christmas I woke up very early to go see if Santa came. It must have been around 3 AM or so, it was completely dark except for the Christmas tree glowing with different colored bulbs. To me it seemed as there was a million presents under that tree all twinkling as the light from the colorful Christmas tree lights reflected off their shiny wrapping paper.

Outside it was a frigid winter morning with the moon shining on fresh bright snow enabling me to see that not a soul was yet awake out there in the big wide world. It was just me, along with my Christmas tree and presents taking in the magic of the moment that everyone else was sleeping through. And speaking of being cold, it was a bit chilly in the house so I sat on the heater vent next to the tree and presents.

It was when the heater kicked on that brought the apex of that magical moment. There I was all toasty and warm among presents for me and my sister that were recently placed by Santa Claus. How did he sneak in so quickly, and place so many gifts without so much as a sound?

And so here I am in the year 2020 in much the same way as I was back in 1983. Only now I am not six years old but am 43 and I have a family, one of which who is awake and starting to wonder if there really is a Santa Claus. He even asked for the video from our security camera which I haven’t shown him yet. I’ve already downloaded it and spliced together the video from the tree before the presents and then after making it look like the presents suddenly appeared. I’m sitting here trying to regain the magic of 1983 but for me there is only a flicker or two. The best I can do is try to recreate the magic for my own boys and in that I am satisfied. My son however, although OK with playing Roblox in front of the tree has asked to go play Fortnite, a request which I had to deny at this moment.

I should also mention that in trying to recapture the magic of Christmas I’ve usually had wine or beer on Christmas eve. Alcohol has the effect of helping loosen those wonderful childhood memories and engaging with them longer. However, drinking results in a bit of a headache on Christmas morning so I decided that instead of drinking alcohol I’d just continue with my big workout streak as of recent. At 43 alcohol has also lost much of its allure. It is good fun for two hours or so but makes my head foggy and my mood lethargic for the next day.

The time is now 6:58 AM. Pretty soon I think we’ll have to “assist” Mom and Ren in waking up as left to their own we would have to wait another hour or so. I also need to complete my usual morning duties of making the coffee, putting away the dishes and getting the fish and turtles fed. Those turtles seem to be becoming quite impatient with me as they swim back and forth along the top of the tank.

And so, once again my magical, early Christmas morning is coming to an end. Mom and Ren will wake up, the boys will tear through the presents and we’ll have a nice breakfast. After that and aside from new items and wrapping paper I imagine it will look like a normal morning with the boys hopping on the computer and iPad to play the usual games as the presents they just unwrapped sit all alone in the living room not being played with.

Yes, the year is no longer 1983. Back then new toys were played with for a solid three months, sometimes even longer before losing their allure. We’re now living in the future where developers have created digital addictions masquerading as innocent games while not requesting money to play, require it in order to really advance.

Christmas 2020.

Christmas Day 2019

It is 6:16 AM on Christmas Day 2019. My son woke up a little before 5:00 AM and then woke me up after. This is the tough part for little guys as we have to wait until the rest of the family wakes up to open the presents. He has contented himself with watching his iPad as well as playing Slither on the PC.

As for me, I’ve made the coffee, put the dishes away, took plenty of video and pictures of the Christmas tree and presents and meditated. I like using my Oculus Go to meditate because you can place yourself in a wide variety of excellent environments such as on the top of a mountain, over clouds, in a bamboo forest and so on. At this time of year the scenes I like are Mt. Huntington, the Silver Alps and Borealis. Today I did my meditation in the Borealis. I’m in snow covered mountains dotted with pine trees and one frozen lake in front of me. It is silent and serene with only the sound of the wind except for two faint other sounds one of which I want to write about. The first is a faint fog horn which calls to mind some remote outpost up in the frozen seas.

The second sound is even more faint but very magical. It is a solitary horn that plays four brief notes. It calls to mind a village that is neither near nor too far in not only distance but also time. It is something from the past, a faded memory that lingers in a very harsh landscape which renews itself with each fallen snow. The Borealis is pristine nature untouched by human hands and only few animals. A frozen tundra that keeps its secrets locked away in pine forests and under frost. I once received a visitor from this world in my backyard and hope that perhaps as a spirit I can visit this cold, isolated world that only birds and and a few foxes know about. I was inspired to write a post about this visitor: A Yukon Home – To be a Varied Thrush.

The time is now 6:40 AM and I must bring my mind back home from the frozen tundra. It is a special morning after all and I’m sure my wife and youngest will be up in the next 30 minutes or so. The time has finally arrived and another year passes.

Christmas Day 2018

It is Christmas Day 2018 at 6:25 AM.  Usually I like to write a Christmas Eve post to reflect on Christmases past and the magic that comes only on that night but I have caught a cold and wasn’t feeling too well.

I just ran myself too ragged:  we took a trip to Lake Tahoe and went snowboarding/skiing for a couple of days with our friends the Denmans.  After skiing it was then lots of food and wine usually followed by a poor nights sleep.  The altitude, extreme exhaustion and of course the wine all contribute to not sleeping well and so you’re never really recovered from the day before.

Well, except from being tired I felt fine on the four hour drive through the rain.  After having so much food and wine the first thing I wanted to do was workout which I did. I then took a shower and finally helped Ren with his aquarium set which took about an hour to put together.  Getting up off the floor I was so tired and stiff and as I walked into the hallway a chill ran right through me and it was then I knew it wasn’t allergies that kept me blowing my nose but I had come down with a cold, and possibly but hopefully not, the flu.

It has remained a cold and I had a good nights sleep except for Kai waking me up at 11 PM to let me know Santa had some and then again at 2 AM to let me know what one of the presents was and ask if we still had to sleep.  I told him we did have to sleep and was amazed that he could go back to bed.  If it were me at the same age I might have been much too excited.

He woke up again at 6 and asked if we could go look at the presents and I obliged.  One difference between our generations is I would just have sat down and still be looking at those presents until it was time to open them.  Kai however is busy on his iPad which holds so much sway over kids these days.  I imagine Kai will play with his new toys for perhaps a few hours but then go straight back to that iPad. Seems to be the only “toy” kids need these days.

We are now in the living room with soft light on, my fireplace DVD playing the gentle ‘snow’ music and waiting for Ren to wake up.  I’ve made the coffee but have opted for tea since it goes better with a cold in my opinion.

But going back to our time in Tahoe it was fantastic.  The best part was that Kai learned to ski in one day!  I put him in a half day lesson which all included cost $115 so not exactly cheap.  Afterwards he went down the Schoolhouse slope a few times and then Brandon said he should try the bigger hill.  Kai did great!  He fell just a few times and at first was very upset.  Hitomi was skiing with him and we think he wanted to impress her so was upset with himself when he fell.  He did much better with me because when they came in I told him to watch that hill and how many people fell down.  It was then my turn to go with him and being on a snowboard I can just plop down when he fell and hold his skiis in place to help him get them back on.

Over the next two days Kai fell less and less and his speed faster and faster.  I’m really impressed and proud of him.  We might consider putting Ren in the lessons when we’re back in February but could also wait until next year.  Knowing how to ski here in the Bay Area is very important since Lake Tahoe is so close and will be an activity their friends will want to do not only now but high school and college trips.  You wouldn’t want to be left behind on account of not knowing how to ski.

This is also different from when I was a kid because Ohio has no mountains and thus knowing how to ski not important at all.  There was a ski club in high school but that didn’t seem too appealing, nor the slopes they visited.

I forgot to mention that I like to record Christmas and the opening of presents for playback years from now when I’ll really miss these little guys.  It was kind of a chore putting up the video recorder: our good one broke and so we bought a cheap one off Amazon but the picture quality is terrible so won’t be using it.  Instead I installed another security camera in the front room and this time with sound.  It has a nice angle from up there in the corner and is constantly recording so I can just download that file and not use a video recorder at all.

The time is now 6:49 and I think I’ll look at some pictures from my own childhood Christmases, upload them and shoot them over as a small Christmas gift to my parents and sister.

Christmas morning 2017

It is 6:00 AM on Christmas morning, 2017.  I had planned on writing this post in the quiet morning before everyone awoke but my eldest woke up at 4:30 AM and is very excited so no chance on getting him to go back to sleep.  So here I sit, in front of the T.V. fireplace while my son watches his iPad and we give my wife and other son some more time before we are obliged to wake them up to open presents.

Christmas Eve 2017

I for one was completely exhausted last night and feel fast asleep around 8:00 PM.  My wife woke me up from a very deep sleep at 9:30 to put out the presents which didn’t take too long.  Then I returned to bed but never regained that extremely deep sleep and woke up quite a bit throughout the night.

When my son woke up he quickly came to the living room to see if Santa had come and lo and behold he did!  He even ate the cookies, drank the milk and left the magical Santa key on the table (we don’t have a chimney).

I’m not sure if we can hold out for another hour or two and not wake up the others.  I think they both would be very cranky if we did though and we certainly want everyone to have the best Christmas morning!