“My favorite part is waking up in the morning, waking everybody up and opening our presents together,” said 12-year-old Michelle.
Aareal, 11, and Miracle, 8, are the family’s early risers, and they wake up their sister so they can go get their parents together. “We go jump on my mom’s bed to get them up,” said Miracle, who shouts “It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!”
For children across the area, today — Christmas Day — represents a time of traditions, family and eager anticipation.
For the Wyckoffs those traditions begin at their Jacksonville home on Christmas Eve, when each person opens a small present for a taste of what’s to come.
The next morning, Christmas music forms the backdrop for opening presents, and after, the girls will cook breakfast for their parents. “They supervise,” Michelle said. “We can cook.”
Aareal said her favorite part of Christmas is spending time with family, something that seems easier this time of year. She and her sisters had fun making a gingerbread house together on Thursday. “We said on Christmas Day we’re going to eat it,” Miracle added.
Six-year-old Jack Hudson Lehr said he was really excited about Christmas coming “cause you get presents and joy.”
Jack Hudson knelt on the floor of the Quintard Mall Saturday afternoon, writing out his letter to Santa as he waited in line to tell Saint Nick in person what he wanted this year: bullets and knives and pistols and guns, plus some erasers and pencils.
He also asked for thread and duct tape, to “make traps out of it in the woods so I can trap a deer.”
His mom, Kendra Lehr, said Jack Hudson has said he would like to trap a deer to bring home as a pet. His affinity for the animals shows on Christmas Eve; the Lehrs leave carrots for the reindeer along with Santa’s cookies.
Kendra Lehr said her son has been more difficult to shop for this year because he’s not really interested in toys anymore.
“He likes to rig things up. We’re trying to channel that,” she said of his requests for building supplies. Kendra said she and her husband are trying to work around Jack Hudson’s request for guns by getting him a membership to the shooting range for Christmas. That way, she said, he’ll be “learning how to use it the right way and get to spend quality time with his dad.”
Stephen Wilson, 6, and his 8-year-old sister Ella were doing some last-minute shopping with their dad, Tim Wilson, at the Quintard Mall on Saturday.
The pair was excited for the traditions of Christmas. Stephen and Ella sleep in the same bed on Christmas Eve, and their parents always come in to wake them up, camera in hand.
“We wake up, and Mama and Daddy, they take our pictures, and then we go in there and we open our presents,” Stephen said.
Wilson loves the Christmas season with his children. “This is one my wife and I’s favorite times of year because we’re working together to make sure we get something they’re excited about,” he said. “The stress doesn’t bother us at all.”
Stephen asked for a remote-controlled helicopter for Christmas, and Ella is hoping for a telescope after her mom said no to a noisy drum set. “I’m just hoping Santa doesn’t overrule her,” Wilson said.
But overrule her he did, Wilson later reported. Both Ella’s drum set and Stephen’s helicopter should be under the tree this morning.
“It is very exciting for me,” he said. “It reminds you what it’s like to be a kid.”
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.