Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Leslie Again

Yup, I'm up again already. Apparently everyone else around here is too busy doing Christmasy things.

Speaking of Christmas, have you seen the number of people in the shopping malls these days? A gal can't even walk around without bumping into someone and their Christmas purchases. It's calmer here in Kanner Lake, of course; but when a friend in Coeur D'Alene wanted to go shopping together at the mall in downtown Spokane, I got my share of people, let me tell you.

I wonder why it is that parents just have to get the newest toys and fear that their children won't enjoy the holiday if they don't get them. (By the way, sometimes the "children" are adults.) Look at the craze over the latest video game systems. People at risk of robbery and personal harm, all for a specialized computer!

Ten years ago, when the first Tickle Me Elmo appeared in stores, one of my cousins had given it top spot on her Christmas wish list. Her dad waited in line for hours and still didn't get one. The store gave him a rain check, but the next order got snowed in at the warehouse. My mother told them not to worry and directed them instead to a local store making personalized dolls. They brought in a few photos when they placed their order and the doll maker sewed matching outfits. That doll became a much-loved toy and lasted far longer than the Elmo that finally showed up after New Year's.

It's not what's on the list of must-haves that matters most to kids and adults alike, so if some items aren't available this year, I won't panic.

Of course, I'm more about tradition at this time of year than toys. It's a Brymes thing, I guess. My parents always share the first glass of eggnog while decorating their tree, and each person who decorates has to place at least one ornament on the tree. Mine is a barely recognizable snowflake I made in third grade, while Mom puts an elaborate angel up because it's her favorite of all the decorations my dad has given her over the years.

And then there's Christmas Eve, when we pile into the minivan, crank up the Christmas tunes and tour Kanner Lake to see all the lights on the houses. When we're done, there's hot cocoa and cookies for us. Then we each pick a single gift to open before bedtime.

Dad always thinks he's in charge of the rest of the gift-opening the morning of the 25th, but Mom tends to tell him which gifts should be opened when. She also makes the traditional list of presents so that it's easy to make thank you cards later and know for sure who gave what.

And when Christmas is officially over, there are still traditions: traveling a few hours into Washington to see my dad's parents and a lot of cousins on the 26th, playing games and assembling jigsaw puzzles almost every evening left in December, eating way too many baked goods, and keeping the tree up until January 1st.

As with many things in life, Christmas is often what you make of it and we Brymes like to have a holiday full of family and fun. A toy here and there is great, but it's just icing on the cake, as they say!

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
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