With all this production, I suppose Mary and I might have been a tad disappointed if the kids weren't revving to go at daybreak. Our own reward would be Christmas dinner. When I was young and still believed in that fat guy with the red suit, Christmas supper at my grandparents' house in Toronto meant a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding, turnips and glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy. It's hard for a Canadian to shake the British influence. My wonderful grandfather, for whom I'm named, would preside over a massive antique table with seating for 24. Plumb full of dishes, it was all the more congested by the bran pie, which was not a pie at all, but a trough of small gifts submerged beneath a mound of dry bran. Each one was tethered to a place setting, so that when you pulled your ribbon, a little present would emerge—as if the morning's haul hadn't been sufficient. Here in Athens, we don't do the bran pie, but we do hunt high and low for quality Christmas crackers, the festive popping devices that are filled with cheap toys, a bad joke, a lottery number, and an ill-fitting paper crown. These little odes to my history are still pretty foreign around here, but my kids now cherish them.