There seem to be two
distinct present opening methods at Christmas time. I'm going to call
them 'One-at-a-time' and 'Everybody-in.'
I come from a family of
predominantly one-at-a-timers. One person was designated 'Santa,'
handing out gifts in an orderly fashion. Everybody was expected to
ooh and aah over every gift. Often we paused for photographs.
In the years of the
biggest Christmas gatherings, this must have taken a long time. But I
don't remember it being so. Perusal of the opened presents and
anticipation of those still in the pile helped to fill in the time
while the adults opened up their underwear and calendars.
Dave's family are
predominantly everybody-in. Oh, the joy of opening present after
present after present, all for me. The thrill of all that paper and
noise and energy. The sea of chatter as gifts are opened all around.
No chance for boredom here!
Two families of origin,
with different ways of doing things.
This Christmas, this is
what present-opening looked like for us:
One-at-a-time at home
before church. One gift each for four people, two of whom can't open
independently. It didn't take very long, and we just had time to sit
and read a chapter of SP's freshly opened 'The Enchanted Wood' before
After church, it was
everybody-in with the extended family. We did presents before lunch
this year, which worked really well. It meant that SP had new things
to play with between courses (particularly his mower), and F could
participate in the presents then go to sleep after the entree. I'll
admit to getting a little frazzled, as I tried to 'help' F open her
gifts, and open mine, and keep the Present Book*, without lagging
dreadfully behind everybody else. And I have very little idea of what
other people gave each other. But one-at-a-time would have made lunch
one-at-a-time gift, kept back from the others, was opened over lunch.
Even if the earlier gifts and their givers were blurred in SP's mind,
we wanted him to know that his uncle and aunt in Melbourne were
thinking of him and wished they could be there. This is the nativity set they gave – highly recommended.
I guess it doesn't make
much difference either way, really. Gifts were given and received,
and love was shared. But I like to think things through, and make
them as pleasant and meaningful as possible. I'm always searching for
a better way. The best way. Though probably it doesn't exist.
So now it's your turn.
What did your family do this year? What's your ideal?
*A household notebook
where every gift, at every occasion, is recorded. Originally designed
to help in thank you card writing, but I like looking back over the
years as well.
We've been in our current house for our whole married life, nearly 6 years. Yet we only know a few of our neighbours. For a few years now, I've wanted to deliver little Christmas gifts, to get to know some more. This year, we're making it happen.
We've only done a few deliveries so far. Lots of people not home, and a couple of teenage boy recipients, who were hardly likely to have an indepth conversation.
But this afternoon, the family of one of the teenage boys left a gift of their own on our front steps. We went over to thank them in person and had a lovely chat.
I was quite chuffed.
Hopefully we'll meet a few more people tomorrow afternoon.
I was an 18 year old baby Christian when they arrived, and my life has been enriched in so many ways by their 10 years of faithful ministry.
I've spent half an hour trying to draft an appropriate post, illustrating the impact they have made, and I'm getting nowhere. But I've already made a speech and written a letter, so maybe they've got the message ;)
Dave & I were married 6 years ago today. Six wonderful, fun, challenging, lovely years.
Apparently the appropriate gifts for a 6th anniversary are iron and sugar. So part of my gift to Dave was a big cup of Deb's Superstar Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Made with dextrose instead of sugar, and poured over a spare helping of Dave's semifreddo (like icecream), it looks, acts & tastes exactly like McDonalds chocolate sauce on a sundae. Yummo!
He bought me a new slow cooker. The best useful gifts are those that I haven't asked for. Thanks honey, and thank you for the last 6 years.
The big kids were awesome. We've got some lovely singers. And the little ones had a ball.
SP was a very quiet sheep, a bit over-awed with the whole thing I think. And F spent most of the time on Nana's lap in the front row of the audience, rather than on the rug with her fellow angels, but she was mighty cute.
If I had my time over, we'd spend 3 times as long rehearsing the big kids with parts, and 1/3 as long practicing the nursery rhymes with the little one. A lesson for next time.
Praying especially for all the playgroup parents/grandparents/friends who came, many of whom may have heard the gospel for the very first time tonight. That makes it totally worth it.
Yes, we know it's been light-on for posts lately. We've been a bit busy (isn't everyone at this time of year), and my current success with Getting Things Done has meant more productivity, less time randomly cruising the internet, and less time blog posting.
This is not a catch-up post. Just a 'this is what I'm doing right now' post.
SP has been enjoying a Babar book we got from the library. So I've had a quick look online for videos from the old series.