It was Christmas morning and no one was astir, except me, who woke up at 5:30 a.m. not to unwrap the presents that Santa and his helpers left the night before but to watch the sunrise rise while I jogged down Las Olas Blvd., a palm tree lined street where my ‘home’ is in Ft. Lauderdale.
“It’s vacation Maddie, go back to bed,” my dad and brothers said.
“Sleep in and miss out on this morning?” I thought but didn’t say.
“You’re right but I can’t sleep,” is what came out of my mouth.
Christmas morning at the Flanigan casa is a memory I hold on tight to throughout the year. I grip onto it in February when the temperature is nineteen degrees and in July when families spend Sunday evenings barbecuing. My entire immediate family lives in Florida and I am the loner child who was different and independent and moved away. Christmas morning is a rare occasion where the seven of us – Paul, Michelle, James, Gerrit, Nick, Kirsten, and I – are together.
After my pre-dawn jog, we sat around the Christmas tree and exchanged gifts. Cliche, I know. Organization was thrown out the window as wrapping paper was ripped and tossed throughout the living room (I get a little nervous/ancy at the site of such a mess). Some presents were known while others were not. My gifts, as they are every year, were a hit. For my dad and my step-mom, I built terrariums and for my brothers, I mounted and framed vintage Playboy magazines (1950s and 1960s). My gift to my step sister, a simple sewing machine, was my favorite. I was so giddy to give it to her that I made sure it was the first present opened. I am crossing my fingers and toes that next time I visit home, she’s sewing up a storm. Could the Flanigan family handle two seamstresses? Under one condition – as long as I’m the better one. In between present openings, Bellinis (champage and peach juice), were sipped for the family members who were eighteen plus years of age (we’re not big supporters of underage drinking – that’s doesn’t make for a good holiday photo album).
The remainder of the day was a lot of laziness. Even though I didn’t know how to work the TV remote (I don’t own a television), I somehow managed to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Bishops Wife, and football (I had absolutely no idea what was going on). I don’t think I left ‘my chair’ the entire day.
If only Christmas day could be every day.