Back when I was a child, I had fun opening presents with my brothers and sister, oohing and aahing over what everyone got, visiting relatives and then returning home for an Italian dinner of lasagna. A few days later, we'd load up the car and drive to my grandparents' house in New York City, celebrating both Christmas and New Year's Eve with them. Gram and Gramps lived on the first floor and my aunt and uncle on the second. Gram would cook a German meal and then we'd go up to my aunt and uncle's for a spell to celebrate the holiday. Somewhere during that time, Mom and Gram would sneak down to Gram's, arrange presents under the tree and then Gram would ring a little bell for us to return to her home. We'd open presents, have dessert and watch the ball drop in Times Square. The following morning it was time to return home. For me, this tradition lasted until I married and moved away. For the rest of the family, the tradition remained until Gram passed away.
softening as they watched their children's faces light up in awe over something left for them beneath the tree.