Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So What'd You Get?

On one forum I frequent, there was a heated discussion about what people WEREN'T able to get their families this Christmas. While for the most part, people sympathized, we all said that times were hard and it's better to look at what you CAN give. I did get some cool things from a sweet Santa (a series of vintage ad books, for one), but I thought it would be cool to look at the gifts that didn't cost. None of these costs a thing, but added a lot of memories this year.


Scoping out neighborhoods for Christmas lights. This event is best done after someone's normal bedtime, with everyone dressed in pajamas. Some nights, we have to go back twice.

Making Christmas cards for the entire Kindergarten class. Marker, glitter, Foamies, paint stampers -- 18 cards took Zack two weeks to plan and make. Then we put the cards in bags and filled them with candy. It was such an enjoyable project!

Watching "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" again and again. I must admit, when I first realized we'd TIVO'd the new version, I was bummed -- but I am now in love with the Tim Burton version of the movie. Steampunk, chocolate, the best Oompaloompas ever -- it was terrific. Zack did ask once, "Why is that man dressed like a lady?", but then we talked about artistic temperments and all was well.

There's a big difference between THIS Johnny Depp:

(© AliciaLogic)

And THIS Johnny Depp (and for futher confusion, we watched Pirates right after watching Willy):


But what makes him a great actor (other than cheekbones for days) is his comedic face:


(Seems as if I've digressed!)

Christmas holidays also means many a board game gets played here in House Anderson. In past years, that's meant heavy games of Trivial Pursuit between Team Adult and Team Boys, and this year was no different. But this year we pulled down RISK (STRICTLY for the hubby and older guys), Sorry, and Trouble. We're a game-playing family.

And then there's indulging a little boy who comes to me with a box of brownie mix in his sweet little hands, huge puppy-dog eyes, asking, "Can we make these?"

None of that really cost a thing. I feel so very fortunate. I had a family that took care of me while I was sick all week, grown boys who are epicures to the core (you should see the apple/blueberry pie Colin made -- magazine-ready), messages from many friends from around the world -- and more laughter than it seems possible.

I love you all for reading this, too -- that's a huge present in and of itself.

Happy New Year's Eve!



  1. My family is big into board games too. :) Just about every time I'm home we play Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories, Life, or another game that takes at least an hour or two.

    Spending time playing games with my family is what I have fond memories of - not what Santa brought me for Christmas. :)


  2. Katie- me too! I would have scoffed at this idea as a child but I have to admit, my best memories are of doing things together and not of opening presents! (and I got enough presents, more than enough)

    I didn't have a Betty Crocker stay-at-home mom. My mom worked full time and usually our cookies came from Nabisco. But once a year, at Christmas, she would make cookies from scratch and my sisters & I were in charge of decorating them. The kitchen table would be full of little bowls of colored icing, colored sugar, sprinkles, chocolate jimmies, silver dragees, etc. We three little girls would have such a blast, we made a mess, we'd eat our "mistakes", we made personalized cookies for every member of the family and for Santa, we had contests to see who could make the best Christmas tree cookie (the most coveted of all the cookie shapes).

    Decorating the tree is another fun memory and every year my sisters and I made some new ornaments. Plus, back then the special TV shows like Rudolph, The Grinch, Charlie Brown's Christmas, etc were only on ONCE a year and there was no VCR or DVD, so having the whole family gather together to watch those was more special.

  3. Every Christmas Eve our family would stay up late playing games, Rummo was our favorite, as was Uno! Those are some of my most treasured memories of Christmas time!

  4. Anonymous12:24 AM

    For us, Christmas is more about the weeks leading up to the actual day and the memories we create during that time.

    Happy new year!

  5. Oh absolutely, Jen! The entire month from pretty much Thanksgiving on is one big fest, because the boys are home on Thanksgiving, then go home while Zack gets excited at school, and then we have all the shopping and making and things that lead up. Which makes the day after a bit of a let down, so we drag out all the games and the candy!

  6. If you don't mind, I'll just cut and paste a bit from my LiveJournal:

    Rivka went next door to play with her friend Lauren. They were going to make an igloo. She came home just in time for candle lighting, and brought Lauren with her - and Lauren's twin step sisters, and the girl from down the hall.

    Imagine, packed into my tiny (less than 700 sqft) apartment, the United Nations of neighborhood children. Lauren, age 7, is Swedish. Her step sisters, age 3, Nubett and Timneh are Ethiopian, and DeLayla, age 8, is African American. We ALL went outside, where everyone , including some passing neighbors, stopped to hear me make the brachot and watch me light the candles. Then, of course, I had to tell the Chanukah story to everyone.

    Afterwards everyone went back inside to watch Rivka open presents and help her break in her new doll house. Rivka did amazingly well with sharing her toys with the little ones, even though she was worried that they might break something. It was crazy, but lots of fun. The other girls want to know if they can come over for candle lighting tomorrow, too.

    I love shopping for Rivka. I wanted a little girl SO bad! Buying her the doll house, and setting it up for her, is just about one of my favorite things in the whole world. She must have kissed and hugged me 100 times tonight and said "Thank you for my Chanukah present!" It was actually the last thing she said before she fell asleep tonight.

    There were TONS of accessories and dolls that came with the doll house, but she'll be getting most of the smaller pieces over the next 7 days. I've learned that it's best not to overwhelm her with too many things at once. Tonight, she got a few chairs, two beds, two little blankets, 4 ladies, a baby w/ crib, and a cat.

    She told me that the cat was in "time out", and needed to stay in a certain room, but that it kept trying to go out on the balcony. I asked her why she didn't put the cat up in the attic room, and she looked at me like I was stupid. She says "That's the baby's room. The baby is ALLERGIC to the cat!" Well, excuse me!

    (I got the dollhouse and all the accessories on Ebay for next to nothing, practically a Chanukah miracle in itself!)


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