This title suits the enormous pile of gifts that
I received, along with the tremendous feelings of
love and admiration for my family’s varied gifts.
We are definitely blessed with a wonderful family
and hope that you had many moments where tears
were close to springing forth, for either your
‘laughing till the tears came’ or because you feel
this also, about your family being so meaningful.
You want to be like Norman Rockwell, but sometimes
your family is like the one in “Christmas Vacation.”
Much of the joy flowing at my brother, Rich, and
sister in law, Susan’s house was due to the one and
only grandchild present when Mom, youngest daughter,
Felicia, and I arrived late on Christmas Eve.
We had seen said California Theo valiantly portraying
a solemn shepherd at the Bay Village located, St. Barnabas’
Theo, his grandparents, Rich and Susan, along with his Cali.
parents, Dorothy and Jon stood up in front, by joining the
adults singing in the choir. Theo and Grandpa Rich had
practiced with the children’s choir for the Nativity portion
of the program,during the week Theo had been there.
Why was Theo valiant? Because his mother and he had had
a horrible bout with either food poisoning or a strong
and fast flu, along with half of Jon’s side of the
family. They were queasy and pale, but stalwart along
with some joy and jubilation once they got through the
sweet children’s “early Christmas Eve service.”
Theo tooted on a long and unusually decorated South
African horn, while we ate and savored turkey, homemade
corn bread stuffing with mushrooms, cranberries and nuts
along with grilled asparagus and other side dishes. We
are much more ‘mindful’ now of our health since Randy’s
quadruple bi-pass surgery and Felicia’s health and
wellness accreditation added to her marketing and
communication degree from UD. She is trying ‘gluten-
free’ due to her aggravated RA which started as a
pre-teen as JRA.
Now, there is never a reason to ‘brag’ about actual
gifts, but I am so pleased with the variety and scope
of the gifts, I hope you will just skip down to the
comments area and add your own favorite gifts you
received. I will be including some my family received
to add some ‘unselfishness’ to my listing gifts!
My friends at work and I exchanged gifts at work on
Monday, along with bringing a snack to share, too. I
am always amazed that I would never have met these
hard working and more manual labor workers than I may
have met through teaching. They are definitely the
light that keeps me going when I am exhausted while
lifting repetitively 30-50 pound hampers!
My friends from the Philippines shared food, of course.
I had given Kridia a Mary Poppins Madame Alexander older
doll right in her precious box. I was happy with Felda’s
gift of saying that not only had they watched the old
“Mary Poppins” movie, they had enjoyed the older version
of “Sound of Music,” but Kridia “votes” for the newer one
with Carrie Underwood. They are planning on taking her to
see, or maybe due to little restless ‘Zachie Poo,’ may
wait to see “Saving Mr. Banks.” That movie is the one
based on the “real” Mary Poppins and “real” Banks Family.
I am anxious to get a chance to see that one, too!
Tammy brought a red, green and white swirled cake with
vanilla cream frosting with coconut and it was in the
triangular shape of a tree! It had red and green M & M’s
on it, too.
Melvin caught me in the parking lot, giving me a German
wine that had spices and tasted like a hard mulled cider,
but was 10 % alcoholic content. I drank this with my family
up in Cleveland, warmed and yummy. He said when he had
heard me talking about my immigrant grandparents, he had
thought of me, then while at the Rickenbacker Air Force
Base commissary, had purchased it to give to me. I cannot
pronounce nor write the name of the wine, but you may
look up holiday German wines and find it! Melvin was once
stationed there, so he says that carolers travel around
the small towns, shops have tables outside their doors,
enticing shoppers by some of their wares and little cups
of this heated wine. I kept the bottle, but did am not so
great at reading the ornate lettering on it, so am not
totally sure of the name of that wine!
Susan had put the South African gifts unwrapped under the
tree, we opened them, since Felicia and I would be leaving
on Christmas day to travel almost 2 and 1/2 hours back to
my son’s ‘party’ and family gathering with the 6 grandies.
I took Trista the giraffe printed purse that was a cloth
tapestry material with a sling kind of strap. It will be
a great “Mommy” purse. I took Jamie a polar bear mug and
its little goodies from Mom, along with hot Cheetos. He
used to get tins of sardines, herrings and tuna fish from
my Dad, my Mom tried to continue this tradition for
several years, but had decided to downsize her gifts, more
out of having to haul them from the bus to her apartment,
than a budgeting issue. My daughter got a snowman mug with
dark chocolates from Mom, I received a card with $10 and
a big hug, along with her little saved cookies from the
dining room to take home. She also ‘re-gifted’ for Jamie
and Trista, a big box of Fannie Mae chocolates. Felicia
and I had both given her boxes of dark chocolates, and
Randy had gone to the Cleveland Malley’s chocolate shoppe,
where he had given us all yummy and great quality candy.
Susan gave my oldest daughter a Cape Town calendar. (These
gifts for son, oldest daughter and daughter in law were
taken to them. Son and family had gone up for Thanksgiving,
daughter more than once had brought the two boys up, too.)
I received, in the mail, a wonderful book that I have been
reading and studying about writing. It is called, “On
Writing Well,” by William Zinsser. It is a 30th Anniversary
Edition, given by my friend, Gary, who is the man I kept of
the match.com group of men, who writes for the sports section
of the Columbus Dispatch. I was thrilled with the UPS package
on a few days before Christmas. I have read and recommend the
forefather of this book, “Elements of Style,” written by E.B.
White with his English Professor friend and colleague, William
Strunk. Strunk and White’s book was one I read in college about
Bill had taken me to eat, twice in December, although both times
I offer and he accepts money for a hefty tip or the whole meal,
in the case of the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays. His gift is always
a big dose of philosophy, analyzing our lives so far, cheerful
talks about his Heather and my current ‘love,’ at the time.
I thoroughly enjoyed and reveled in the Christmas concert and
meal with that special friend. I loved the fact we walked from
my apartment, across one of the three bridges and up the steep
and slippery hill and steps to Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan Campus.
Although there was a constant attempt to keep the salted sidewalks
from getting slippery, the walk was a little treacherous, as I
wore a nice pair of heels! I wore an attractive “ensemble” and my
old, herringbone woolen long coat and gray cashmere (previous year’s
gift from youngest daughter) scarf. This was what I had worn when
I met up with my ex-husband on First Friday of Delaware with a green
cashmere sweater, that gift from a friend, and jeans, that night.
There was Chaos! upon arrival at my son’s but the children were
overall very well behaved. There is always a long table set up with
the munchies that I adore, pineapple slices, veggie tray with ranch
dressing, a relish tray with my sweet gherkin pickles, along with
my bringing two balls of the chipped beef cream cheese ‘logs’ with
100% whole wheat crackers and Triscuits. My youngest daughter
ignored the beef part of the logs and ate it anyway, since the
cream cheese and chives interior is basically healthy and gluten-
free. She ate all the veggies, the pineapple and watched herself
by eating a bite of the famous 3 cheese mac n’ cheese, Trista
makes for all family gatherings.
I was able to get photographs of most of the children with
their opening the gifts (I gave school and play clothes)
while my brother’s gifts of toys were a welcome relief!
Too bad he could not have seen the hour long play with the
two girl cousins (Jade and Makyah) with the wooden painted
and unusually shaped beads and strings. Randy gave some
awesome gifts of coffees to my girls and also, Mod Podge
in two big jars, to my oldest artistic daughter. He got
a great Crock Pot for the main meal planners, Jamie and
Trista, along with some candies to share at the party.
You see, at Jamie and Trista’s house, they have two
rooms, the play room and the kitchen set up with food!
The revelry and comraderie, includes Trista’s father,
He seemed, understandably, lost and saddened by his
wife, Chris’ passing, her son and his wife, Jerry’s
son and wife, friend, Alan, Theresa and Hailey, Zena,
Emily and Jason, along with my three children and six
There is always an atmosphere of joviality with the
men sometimes imbiding some ales or beers, the women
having a glass of wine, too. The children ‘munch and
run,’ or grab and take on the go snacks but they are
required to stay with food in the kitchen or playroom
areas. The little girls, Kyah and Jade, were using
water in their tea cups and using the play tea pot
in the living room, before being scolded and sent
back to the playroom. The boys were having fun with
their tablets or DSL’s? is that what they are called?
Nana never looks at those games nor tries to play
them, unlike Wii games of bowling or other fun things
on the big screen television in the family room. I
was once a Donkey Kong “Queen” amongst my son’s
group of Nintendo friends. That is the last time I
attempted that sort of game!
Children everywhere, the tree lights glowing and the
atmosphere was warm and toasty, filled with the
abundance of love flowing all around us. Such a gift
that is beyond words…
A final quotation that pertains to “abundance” by
“Perceptions of beauty vary. We should delight in the
diversity of taste, just as we rejoice in the
abundance of experiences that life has to offer.”
Although, I attempted, really tried to shorten this!