On Christmas morning the kids slept until 9:30. It was unprecedented for Halen; he’d never slept past 8 a.m. in his life. We don’t know what powers of slumber Santa Claus exercised on our children to cause them to sleep so late, but we hope he bottles it and markets it so we can stock up and pump our kids full of it each night before bed.

When they finally awoke, Savannah and Halen richly enjoyed opening presents. Halen warbled "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" whenever he ripped the wrapping paper off a box. It didn't matter what was in the box; he came to associate the sound of wrapping paper ripping with new toys, so the mere sound ellicited a "whoa", regardless of who was actually opening a gift. Pavlov would've nodded solemnly had he observed our little son.

Savannah started the morning by playing with each new toy for a good five or ten minutes before moving onto the next gift, but she eventually got the hang of the true spirit of Christmas morning and began tossing each new toy aside after three or four seconds with the timeless exclamation “More presents!” She received a whole herd of toy horses and hasn’t put them down much in the past 36 hours.

Christmas evening we headed to the Washington D.C. temple to see the lights on the Visitor’s Center grounds and the collection of nativity sets inside. The colored Christmas lights lent a warm glow to the cold, misty air and the temple spires elegantly needled the low rain clouds, creating a beautiful scene for the folks who braved the unpleasant weather. I think we’ll make it a Christmas tradition to visit the nearest temple on Christmas night to remember what the holiday is for. I don’t know how often that will be realistic – certainly not the next two years. The temple nearest Amman, Jordan, as far as I know, is in Germany. We won’t be making that trek on Christmas night.