Happy Holidays

This time of year is for holidays and family things, no matter what your religion or lack of. It’s the season to be merry. It’s the time to be generous and grateful. This is when you realize that family means everything and friends are to be treasured.

So Merry Christmas to my friends and family. If you celebrate other holidays during this time of year, I hope that your choice of celebration is wonderful for you, too.

Sugar and spice

Having spent the day with my sister and her kids, I knew that I could be the most help to my sister while she dealt with the funeral home and all the calls from family and friends if I took her daughters out for lunch and got them out of the house for a bit. Even though it was a very sad day for everyone, we managed to enjoy the time together. I took them to a Ruby Tuesday to eat, and we sat in a booth, in the back by the restrooms, and sat around for a couple hours just talking.

I decided that some of the things I could to do to help my sister get through this would be very practical and I wanted to take care of a lot of details that she might not have the time or energy to deal with. I took the girls shopping after lunch to get new dresses and shoes for the funeral home stuff, and I went ahead and bought a couple other more fun outfits for them so they would have something nice and feel a little special.

Gift Exchange

Coming from a large family, exchanging birthday and Christmas with every family member quickly got to be too expensive for most of us, so my sister proposed a gift exchange plan that we’re giving a try this year. She has put household names into a hat and drawn a match for each household. The gift giver has the option of buying a small gift for each person in that drawn household or buying one larger gift for the entire household to share and enjoy. she sent out an email this morning asking all of us to confirm our desire to participate in the gift exchange or we have the option of declaring amnesty and opting out. If we opt out then we won’t be receiving gifts from anyone in the family but we won’t have to buy any, either. But I decided we would participate so I confirmed with her and started thinking about ways to save money on the gifts.

It seems strange to be thinking about Christmas in August, but my sister wanted the different family members to have plenty of time to shop for bargains or possible craft or construct the gifts, so she will be drawing the names this weekend and letting us know our lot.

We have always enjoyed getting up early on Black Friday to start our Christmas shopping and we make a day of guerrilla shopping. I’m sure you know that Black Friday is what they call the day after Thanksgiving. It’s big doings at all the malls and retail stores, as they viciously compete for your Christmas shopping money with special sales and secret specials on that day.

Family Photos

The kids came home from their first day of school full of chatter and excitement about their new classes, their new teachers, and all the friends they haven’t seen over the summer. They brought a pile of paperwork that needs to be filled out and signed and sent back in, often with a check attached. One of the things I wanted to see right away was the school calendar with all the holidays and vacation dates. Sorry to say, here it is August and I’m already thinking about December and Christmas vacation.