Hubby and I have a blended family - there are seven kids, ranging in age from 30-something to 9-years old. We have seven grandchildren - so far - although that number is certain to rise over the years. I believe our family has "rabbit" running in it's bloodlines - hence, the tendency to go forth and multiply.
My Christmas shopping begins months ago - I first set up an Excel spreadsheet, listing every member of the family & extended family that we hope to buy for.... I then begin popping in ideas into the spreadsheet, and then begin logging when the purchasing actually begins. Because I absolutely HATE crowds, I don't go near the malls at this time of year. 99% of my shopping is done on the Internet - I sit here, on my sofa in my bedroom, engulfed in my comfy slippers and sweatpants, sipping hot chocolate - surfing the Net for amazing bargains, and most importantly, FREE shipping!
The UPS delivery man is my best friend this time of year - my neighbors are probably beginning to talk, seeing that his truck is parked outside my front door just about every day at 2:45 pm. (That's pretty bad - when you know exactly what time your driver will appear!)
Once the gift comes in the front door, I immediately wrap it and then stash it. This is where the problem begins. I have this unfortunate, frustrating habit of stashing gifts around the house and then forgetting where they're stashed. UGH! I do this every year!!! Last year, the kiddies had opened up all of the gifts under the tree, and I realized that half of the gifts had never made it under the tree to begin with! I then had to go on a scavenger hunt on Christmas morning - NOT fun - and muttering and cursing to myself that I couldn't believe I had done this - AGAIN! All the while, on my hands and knees, looking under beds, in closets, in the cabinets...and starting to panic when the gifts weren't magically appearing.
This year, I've picked ONE spot where the ***SPOILER ALERT*** "Santa" gifts are hidden. Unless lightening strikes or I come down with dementia overnight, I 'should' be able to remember where the gifts are this year.
In addition to the holiday shopping and stuff, we also host an open house every year for our families and friends. The Saturday before Christmas - which means it's tomorrow. Lots of food and goodies and fun and games. Literally, lots of games. We set up games from our childhood - Operation, Rock'em Sock'em Robots, Ker-Plunk, etc - and have competitions. The games are set up in various points around the house, and the guests just rotate around on their own, making sure they participate in all of them. Everyone (I think) has a good time, being a child again. We call it "Reindeer Games Night" and there's a grand prize at the end of the evening. We're going to cap it off this year with a variation of "Family Feud" - I'm dividing up the guests into two "families" - the Reindeers and the Elves - and the questions will all have to do with Christmas, of course.
And since my house will be full of people tomorrow - today will be spent CLEANING. Oh joy. And then tomorrow will be spent making dips and appetizers and all of those other yummy, delicious things. More joy. And then Saturday night, after everyone goes home, we'll spend more time cleaning. Don't you just love the holidays??!
But really - it is the "most wonderful time of the year". I almost cry when I drive around and look at neighborhood decorations, and hear Christmas carols, and see people in stores, buying gifts for their loved ones. I love participating in charity events where we give gifts to children who need a little "help" from Santa; I love slipping coins and bills into the Salvation Army red kettles, all the while hearing the bells ringing; I love the Toys for Tots campaign and the meals for senior citizens so they aren't alone....I love seeing families get together and put aside their differences - for at least one day of the year. I love the songs on the radio, and the wrapping and the shopping, and the looks on my kiddies' faces on Christmas morning when they open their gifts.
So, bah humbug, any Scrooges out there! Lighten up and have some fun this year at Christmas.
Be sure to do your part today to save the world - one act at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference somewhere.