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Monday, December 20, 2004

It's that time of year

G took all three girls over to the east coast with him today. So what am I doing with all my spare time? Blogging and procrastinating. There's a pile of presents on my bed waiting to be wrapped and rehidden, but I am severely lacking in motivation today.

Christmas Survivor: Outwit, Outlast, Outplay.

My kids are way smarter than I was at their age. I have to purchase special wrapping paper that only Santa uses, otherwise the kids want to know why Santa's gifts are wrapped in the same kind of paper as the presents from Mom and Dad. (That year I told them we left it out for him in case he was a little short. They barely bought it.) Gift tags must be written in a very elaborate and noticeably different hand than Mom's or Dad's lest they become suspicious. We must dodge hidden cameras and voice activated recorders, for their Santa surveillance has gone quite high tech these days.

S is twelve. She should be in the logic stage of the Trivium. Why hasn't she asked me about Santa yet? Does she still believe? She has given me a few knowing smiles behind her sisters' backs, but she has never outrightly asked nor been told. With no one to burst her little bubble, it's quite possible she could end up going off to college still believing. And sneaking gifts into her dorm room on Christmas Eve would be really hard to pull off.

This year in order to accommodate our ever more complicated holiday schedule, we will open family presents on Christmas Eve. This will be the first year we have ever tried this and frankly, I'm a little worried that it won't be as exciting as the all-at-once free-for-all Christmas morning. Then we'll hop in the car like we do every Christmas Day, although this year rather than a one minute drive, it will be a two and a half hour ride, and hit Uncle Ben's for their fabulous open house. You are guaranteed to see neighbors, old time Hollywood friends, tons of cousins, in-laws, people you know you're related to but just aren't quite sure how, people you really aren't related to but feel like family anyway, and a surprise guest or two, all over a huge spread that always includes my favorite, lox and bagels topped with slices of fresh tomato and red onion. There will be entertainment too. Cousin Ryan might show you how he can crack a walnut in his butt, or Uncle Ben will give all the kids water pistols and encourage them to have a squirt gun fight using guests as cover, there may even be an impromptu football game in the front yard, you just never know. It's worth the trip.

Usually we head up to my parents after that, where things are much more subdued, for a big dinner. But this year, with my younger brother co-opting Christmas at his house in West Palm Beach, too much of an additional drive for us, we will stay primarily in Hollywood, maybe making it up to Fort Lauderdale to my parents' for a short visit before we head back over to Punta Gorda. While we're in Hollywood, we plan to visit G's grandmother who is in a nursing home, and stop in to see some other friends, who have lured us over with the promise of details about the school troubles they have been suffering with their daughter, a former classmate of S's. When I mused aloud upon hearing of her sudden and unexpected return to their original Catholic grammar school, that at least most of the same kids were still there and that she could jump right back in with old friends Kelly and Bianca, my friend stopped me and said, "Oh, no, we have to keep her away from Bianca. Bianca tried to poison a teacher last year." How can I resist?

Oh, I guess I better go wrap these boxes up before G gets back with the girls...

May your days be merry and bright!

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