My brother and his family graciously opened their home for the family celebration. Everyone gathered after the children's Mass. The table was set beautifully with place cards made by June Bug. Lesson's have been learned over the years and we open presents before we eat.
Let me set the scene - a five-year old boy and a seven-year old girl at the center. Surrounded by by grandparents and aunts and uncles. Did I mention that the children are the only grandchildren/niece and nephews of the group gathered? Paper was flying and we were all jockeying for good camera position.
I decided when the children were born that I was only going to give them savings bonds, music, art or books as gifts. I held to that notion for a few years, but handing a three-year old a painting does not have the satisfaction that giving a Barbie does. I've managed to strike a happy medium and hold myself to giving just one toy - which still makes me feel a little Scrooge-like. Since June Bug is my godchild I've also given her a peice of Spode Christmas Tree china every Christmas to get her started with a tradition that I love.
This year I gave June Bug a pink Disney digital camera that holds 40 pictures and downloads right to the computer. Little Brother got one of the recordable talking gnomes. It is really cute and makes your voice higher to sound more gnome-like, 'cause as we know gnomes have high-pitched voices.
My siblings draw names for a $5 gift. I gave Dad a bunch of kitchen stuff that can be used for his annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day fish fry (I can't believe that I didn't blog about this party, I'll remedy that this year). Dad gave us money, as he likes to say - it's your color and it fits.After dinner and the kids were tucked in to their beds, I got to help with my favorite part of the evening - assembling gifts. JR put together the train track around the tree and I got to set up these cool computers purchased through the One Laptop for Every Child program. They really are amazing. They have microphones, cameras, painting capabilities and can access the Internet.