Robert St. John column

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Morning of 25th ‘crux of kiddom’

Christmas morning excitement is an emotion unmatched by any other.

Adult excitement pales in comparison to the holiday-exhilaration recipe of two-parts anticipation, mixed with one part delight, a dab of enchantment, and a pinch of joy that is experienced every Christmas Eve until our pre-teen years sweep the thrills away.

The excitement reaches its fever pitch just before sleep. Lying in bed— blankets and sheets pulled to the chin— listening to every bump and creak in the attic and on the roof. Occasionally daring to get out of the bed to run across the room and peek through the curtains to see if reindeer might have landed in the front yard.

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I miss that thrill. Granted, it is a materialistic feeling at its core, and pales in comparison to the adult excitement of babies being born and offspring accomplishments, but it is a memory that is too strong to be denied. It is a singular emotion that is unlike any other we experience for the rest of our lives.

The anticipation begins at dusk on Christmas Eve. Children realize that the greatest kid-day of the year has almost arrived. It’s the day they have been waiting for since December 26th of the previous year. It’s the one day that is unlike any other— the day when children all over the world wake up and open gifts that have magically appeared from nowhere. It happens on only one morning and it is the crux of kiddom.

As Christmas Eve night progresses, kids realize that they are only hours away from waking up to the frenzy of flying wrapping paper, shiny toys, and colorful presents. Excitement mixes with exhaustion and anticipation— it’s almost time.

What a great concept. Waking up to stuff. New stuff. Stuff you have been dreaming about for months. Everyone is happy. What a great feeling.

Remember that Christmas morning feeling this holiday season. Remember the excitement and the elation. Let’s do what we can to revive that feeling in ourselves and in our neighbors throughout the year. Most of all let’s pass it on.

Some children won’t wake up to flying paper and shiny toys. For them, it’s not about colorful presents and new stuff. It’s about survival and getting by on a daily basis.

This holiday season make sure that the joy you experienced happens for everyone.

The man who learns how to put Christmas morning excitement into pill form will be a rich man, indeed. Meanwhile, many of us have the power to make it happen for the under-resourced children in our communities. This Christmas Eve, let’s pull the sheets to our chin knowing that we did everything we could to create Christmas-morning memories and excitement for everyone.

For this week’s recipe, Cookies for Santa, go to the blog on

(Robert St.John is an author, chef, restaurateur, and world-class eater. He is the author of six books including the newly released Southern Seasons. He can be reached at