This is how the Carons do Christmas: in fits and spurts. In early December, Marie and I got a live tree, which Joe and I decorated. I put up the Joe-mandated decorations, including the nutcrackers on the mantel and the miniature skating pond on the sideboard. A week later I put some lights on the porch and bushes. Then, absolutely nothing for three weeks.
On Sunday, December 23rd, we all sprang into a frenzy of shopping and preparation. The kids went to a mega mall and hubs and I went to ten different stores, scouring through a stack of coupons and special offers, and burning through a stack of money. We called each other every other minute, “What if it were orange, would you still wear it? What size do you wear?”
And you know what we got? Mostly practical stuff that we would have gotten anyway. For Marie, we got workout clothes and a hairdryer; for Joe, jeans and a new Under Armour sweatshirt in signal orange, because they were out of the more sedate colors. For James, we picked up a couple Amazon gift cards, because he just wanted books. I also got Joe a bunch of protein bars for his wrestling tournament this weekend.
On Christmas Eve, we went to church and then out to dinner, arriving back home at around 10 PM to the stark realization that no one had wrapped any gifts. “Fine by me if we don’t wrap the gifts,” James stated. “We can just hand them to each other.” But tradition prevailed and everyone disappeared into corners of the house to emerge with stacks of brightly wrapped presents. Some of them were even wrapped in Christmas paper.
Funny thing is, we haven’t bought wrapping paper or gift bags in years. We just keep recycling the old ones, so you might get a present tucked into a bag with the name scratched out three or four times. Or maybe it would have no name at all, and you would just have to guess who the present was for.
We have a little tradition of someone being Santa on Christmas morning, and anymore it always falls to Joe, I guess because he is the youngest. One by one, he picks up a present, shakes it a little, peers at the tag with the name scratched out three or four times, twirls around and pretends to give it to one person, before twirling around in the other direction to hand it to the rightful recipient. This drags out the present-opening ritual a little longer and gives everyone time to properly exclaim over each gift.
Everyone loved their gifts, even silly ones like the bison jerky I gave James. Joe got a very smart looking black thermal shirt from Marie and Joe, which everyone admired immensely. I offered to buy one for James as well. “No thanks,” he said, “I just want books.” He immediately went online to cash in his Amazon cards and start shopping for the stack of books he wanted to read.
Recently, a friend had remarked, only partly in jest, that it almost doesn’t matter what you give someone as long as it is beautifully wrapped, and gift wrapping can certainly rise to the level of an art. But I don’t think it really matters how a present is wrapped, as long as it is given in love. And I am super excited about my new Ninja Cooker, even though it was wrapped in Happy Birthday paper.
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu
Did you wrap all your Christmas presents? What other unusual traditions do you observe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!