I vividly remember the night before Christmas when I was nine years old.
One of our family traditions was that each child got to open one gift on Christmas Eve.
Each year, my brothers and I spent most of the month deciding which gift that would be. We began our research in early December, and as each gift appeared beneath the tree, we carefully examined it, checking the weight and shape of each box, looking for clues to what was inside. As you can imagine, by Christmas Eve the gift we had chosen to open had become the most coveted one under the tree.
That year my brother, Lawson, and I both chose a gift from Aunt Patti. (Our brother David was a baby and still too young to care.) Aunt Patti was young and hip. She knew what kinds of presents kids liked, and now she joined my parents on the couch to watch the events unfold.