Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Traditions

My wife and I come from varied backgrounds. We are similar where it counts but there are some things we will never see eye to eye on. Movies, olives, and eating meat obtained from hunting are things we have just decided to agree to disagree on. Another of those battles is more applicable to the Christmas season. It revolves around the question of the best way to open Christmas gifts on Christmas morning. I will give you two scenarios and not tell you who prefers which way. Then you vote for which way you think is best. Here we go.

Christmas gift opening style #1.
Gifts are sorted, usually be a younger member of the family and deposited in a neat pile near the person whose name they bear. Once the gifts are piled the patriarch (or matriarch) of the family gives the "go" signal and everyone tears into their gift pile devouring each of those precious packages in seconds being sure to shout a brief but heartfelt thank you to the gift giver before going to the next morsel. It is all over with in about 3.5 minutes including thank you's and the obligatory large plastic bag bursting from the wrapping paper and packaging stuffed inside during the clean-up. Then you process the bounty with each other over sticky buns, egg cassarole and coffee.

Christmas gift opening style #2
In a seemingly similar beginning, younger members of the family sort gifts from under the tree depositing the gifts in a neat pile near the one whose name it bears. Everyone sits in a circle, adults with coffee or some warm beverage and kids anxiously awaiting the carnage of torn wrapping paper. Then an "opening order" is established. The order usually goes from youngest to oldest. The youngest is quietly given permission to open one gift - and only one. The wrapping paper is removed while onlookers giggle and poke fun at any difficulty in unwrapping the gift. "Just rip it" someone usually says and then one uncle is usually reminded that "rip it" refers to the wrapping paper not his intestinal issues. After the one gift is revealed the youth is reminded to thank the gift giver and then is asked to sit and wait next to a pile of beautifully wrapped gifts with his or her name on them and slapped by a caregiver if he or she even looks like they might open a gift out of turn. The next youngest then does the same, unwrapping one - and only one - gift while everyone pokes fun and then "oohs and ahs" over the coloring book and crayons they got (like anyone really cares). This goes on until everyone in the circle has opened one - and only one - gift. At that point the nod is given to the youngest again to begin to open his or her second gift. Then everyone else in turn opens their second gift as well. This goes on until everyone in turn has opened every gift. It lasts roughly twelve hours. People have to take IV fluids to keep from dying of hunger and when breakfast is finally served it is usually cold and slightly moldy.

So give me your thoughts on which gift opening style is better and later I will reveal which one I prefer and which one Lenore prefers.

PS. Don't call Lenore until after New Year's day. She will finish opening her gifts about then.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

I haven't changed my blog in weeks. I am sorry for those who might have checked lately and not found updates. Thanksgiving was great. We got to reconnect with Lenore's side of the family at Joe and Jan Johnson's house in St. Louis, MO. We saw the Johnsons too before they left for Tennessee. I also met with a great college friend, Wade Gillespie. He preaches for a church in the St. Louis area. Reconnecting is good. It reminds you of your roots. It affirms that there are people out there who love you even if you don't see them every day. It is also spiritually enriching to connect with people who share your faith and encourage you to be what God wants you to be. In this holiday season there are many things for which I give thanks but family and friends are at the very top of the list.