Christmas came and went in such a blur that perhaps a list is needed, marked by increasing levels of awesomeness:
First, we begin with the best gag gift of the year. It’s a little complicated, but for awhile in early December it seemed as if the family might be part owner of a tract of farm land in Nebraska. The jokes flew and debate ensued over whether we city folks should plant corn or soybeans come spring. As things turned out, we weren’t land barons after all. But my in-laws from back east made the best of it, and we all ended up with the gift of green John Deere hats. I’ll gladly wear mine the next time I mow the latest crop of crabgrass on my Greenhaven lawn.
Then comes the arrival and too-short visit of my brother-in-law, who escaped the cold of Baltimore to share the holiday with us. He joined A. and I on a walk to the park on Christmas Eve, where we played catch with a Nerf football. Uncle Riney Piney Poo Poo, as he is affectionately called by the kids, brought us a copy of Wii Sports Resort. The last time I had this much fun playing a video game was when I discovered Centipede in middle school.
Next on the list is Christmas Eve, when A. and little C. took part in the Christmas Eve service in the procession of friendly beasts arriving to see baby Jesus. A. was a shepherd, while C. was the cutest little mouse I ever saw. They held hands as they patiently posed for me to take a photo. They were good sports, and I took a second to appreciate the moment.
Even more excellent was Christmas morning, when A. and C. hopped out of bed to see if Santa came. The mood was electric, and they could barely contain themselves as they surveyed a mountain of presents around the tree. Snug in their Christmas pajamas, they paused for a moment and then dove in, shredding open gifts and having a great time. The front room was strewn with ripped paper when they were done, and they immediately set about trying each newly opened toy. Watching them made my day.
The best part of the holiday came a day later, when A. remembered gifts he made for us in his fourth-grade class. He opened a bag and pulled out a glass candle holder, covered in red, green and white paper. He gave me a Christmas card, with “Dad” on the front and “Seasons Geetings” written on the inside. It includes a picture of Santa’s sleigh sitting on the roof of a snow-covered house, with the big man seen peeking out of window. Perfect, typo and all.
Now we’re ready to take the tree down and put the lights away. The holiday is finally over. Long after the last tree needle is vacuumed up and Christmas is gone, these are the gifts I’ll remember.