Merry Christmas everyone! And a belated Happy Chanukah. I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season. And for those of you who celebrate Kwanzaa, I hope you have a merry holiday beginning tomorrow.

This year has been crazy, right? Well, my sister-in-law’s COVID test came back negative, so she and C scrambled to make a plan for last night. But since C had to work, it was more of an afternoon thing. It was fun, we played a game for gifts, and I appropriated C’s gift because it was the one I’d wanted the whole game. My sister-in-law wraps 6 gifts, 1 per adult, and writes a number on the paper. Then she writes the numbers on little slips of paper to be drawn from a hat/cup/etc. We start with whatever number gift we draw. Then, taking turns and using a die, we roll to see if we get to open the gift we have, if we all pass to the right or left, or if we swap with someone of our choosing. Using a 6-sided die, passing to the left and right are doubled, but this year we used a 4-sided die. When the game ended, C had the soft-looking present I’d wanted the whole game. It turned out to be a super-soft blanket and I promptly took it from him. (Don’t tell him, butI plan to share. Shhhh!)

K came home from his Dad’s this morning and we opened gifts quickly because we were due at my other brother’s this morning. K wasn’t happy that he didn’t have time to play with anything, but when we reminded him that he was going to see his cousins, still going to his mom’s, and probably grandmother’s, he was fine with waiting to play with his new things until he gets back home. His biggest disappointment was not getting his normal candy breakfast this morning since he was at his Dad’s.

When M and Z were little we stole an idea from my sister-in-law. Santa doesn’t bring the big presents, only the stocking stuffers – that actually came from the dollar store. This way parents who are working for the money for presents get the credit and the kids aren’t asking for huge things that we’d never be able to afford. Last year C tried his hand at being Santa and promptly got fired when all that Santa brought M was a cat toy. Thank goodness M was 15 and knew who to blame.

Another thing we do twice a year is let the kids have candy for breakfast. Strangely enough, these two mornings fall on the two big Christian holidays – Christmas and Easter. The kids aren’t allowed to open their gifts before the parents (mostly me) wake up, but they’re allowed to open their stockings and eat any candy they find as well as play with the toys they find there. Easter baskets are fair game as long as the kids have slept first.

So the kids all got stuff they loved this morning. That’s always a blessing. I got great stuff this year too! Aboji got me a onesie that I plan to use as pajamas with a pair of leggings. And he got me Build-a-Bear gift cards – I have a serious BaB addiction. I’m so excited! I already know what I’m going to get – a Polar Express inspired bear and a 36” bear. And Aboji got two Zelda games for the Switch. He says he thinks he has one of them for an older system, but he’s happy to have it for a current system. Dada got a playlist from me and a picture of a picture I colored for him. I plan to send him the actual picture, but I wanted him to be able to see it on Christmas.

What have you done, or do you plan to do, this holiday season? Next up for me: keeping the kids up until midnight and making hot cocoa instead of having sparkling cider or champagne.

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