Our Santa time is always December 24 eve. I think it was that way in my mom's home when she was a child, or she perhaps made the tradition herself, being a night owl and NOT a morning person. I always felt lucky that Santa, being SO busy that one night made concessions with just our family to stop by our house early so that we could get our presents sooner and not have to wait fitfully through the night, excited as all get-out, and then try to coax our parents out of their bed at the crack of dawn to open the presents. Plus, I look much better in the evening, having cleared up any puffiness and smeared mascara by then. For kids: Any child excited and happy--no such thing as a bad picture.
It was a lovely evening! Whew! I had a few palpitations before the event, given all the fights that happened last year and Dad's thoughts on trying "to get to the bottom of what really happened" last year. But no. No dredging up old crap.
Just my siblings, their families, with my parents hosting our traditional gathering on the eve of the 24th of December. I was the last to arrive, since I worked that day, but I didn't miss too much. A wonderful meal of Bami Goreng (an Indonesian noodle dish--our tradition) with croek poek (shrimp chips) was enjoyed by all and then we settled in to wait for that magic booming knock on the door when Santa would bring presents to the entry.
It was all carefully planned and then almost blown.
Mom asked my sister to make sure all the kids stayed in the family room while she heaved all the wrapped gifts to the front porch. But D went to the bathroom and left "her post" which allowed my much-too-excited-to-sit-still son to peek through the glass of the front door. He said, "Hey, there are presents outside!! Look!!"
Ai, yai, yai. Mom quickly corralled them back into the family room to pay more attention to Frosty the Snowman movie and "be good." Then she stealthily chased outside, banged on the front door and ran back towards the back door to be part of the surprised crowd in awe of what Santa had delivered (not bad for a woman with painful arthritis, I say. And why didn't dad or my brother do it?? Or any other adult with good joints? Sheesh.) But whatever. The kids were super excited and we all brought in the gifts, placed them around the tree and found a chair around the perimeter of the room to partake in the fun of opening presents. I'm usually the one that hands them out, one or two at a time so we all have the chance to ooooh and aaaaah over each one and check out the special smiles when it's something that person was so hoping to receive. T was out of his skin with glee. He wanted to help me, by reading the names and then giving the gifts. Easy enough, but he wasn't so good at balancing it out so that all family members got a chance from time to time, instead of 3 or 4 in a row for one person. But in the end it worked out just great. I always try to have the 2 youngest kids open the last gifts--and that's what worked out. Everyone was happy. Actually some were a little TOO happy. This year, Grammy came (my sister's mother-in-law who lives with them). It was lovely to have her, but boy does she like her wine! And this night, she managed to finish off a whole bottle on her own. Yikes. I think she's used to drinking a glass or two of boxed wine, but maybe she thought the bottle would go to waste if she didn't finish it. All the other drinkers (and yes, even the alcoholics in the family--there are two that I'm aware of, were drinking) were mixing vodka and cranberry juice, so they didn't help with wine drinking. See why I was so nervous? A powder keg potential, I tell ya.
Oh. I guess I answered my own question on why someone with healthy joints didn't play Santa this year. Alcohol in tiny amounts is good, but beyond that it makes for drunks. And some were clearly beyond.
The photo books for my nieces were a big hit. Yay! I was so proud that they loved them. Someone said that with that gift I'd solidified my place as "Aunt-extraordinaire". I'm cool with that.
T's big present was a Wii. He didn't really know what it was in the white box, so for the moment he was SUPER jazzed with the baseball gloves that he got, which he calls "tether ball gloves". And they really work great to hitting the ball harder so that his fists don't feel the impact. Now he'll win against the 3rd graders for sure! Those gloves look pretty fancy, so I'm wondering how long he'll have them if he takes them to school. There are sticky fingers at school, in more ways than one. (Once the Wii was set up the next day, he was hooked, and the tether ball gloves will have to wait their turn).
My big gift was a starter kit for mineral based make-up. I'd been suckered in with an in-store demo and so I thought I'd give it a try. My skin needs more help these days. Darn those sun spots and broken capillaries. Hopefully I'll be able to work the same magic with those brushes that the salesgirl did in the store.
After all the presents were unwrapped, Granny was no longer able to put a coherent sentence together and then slipped down a few steps as she tried to maneuver walking down the stairs. Shortly, she was guided into the back seat of the truck to go home, without her shoes. But I found them just before they left and handed them through the car window to an oblivious Granny.
Everyone left happy. Some too happy. No fights. Just family. Together.
And I took in a big breath and let it out slow, with a big hug for my overjoyed boy.
Mom pulled off yet another wonderful day of memories. Thanks Mom.