Well, for most of the rest of you suckers, you are running around getting last minute shopping done, buying food, readying your holiday finery for the Big Day. For us here, the pressure is off. "Christmas" was last night and we don't have to worry any more!
(Well, there is still tomorrow and the 25th with my mother and the 26th with Jeri and Phil, but the big Christmas was last night.)
Ned and Marta left Sacramento early and arrived in Santa Barbara around 4 p.m. They and the others got here to Alice Nan & Joe's around 5. And yes, while as I predicted Uncle Ned was the center of the girls' attention...
...not so much as usual, though. The girls actually had time to interact with all of us.
About six months ago, I enrolled Bri in a program called "Little Passports," where she was sent a suitcase and the story of two kids who were going to travel around the world. Each month she gets a package from them, with a letter about which country they are in, games to play and all sorts of things related to that country. It's a great way to get little kids interested in geography and apparently Bri loves her monthly package, so she brought everything she has received so far with her last night so she could show me all of her stuff and we had a good talk about the program. I'm so glad I found that program.
There was a wonderful dinner, with the big people at the big table and the kids at the coffee table.
Then it was time to open presents. Bri seemed genuinely excited about the electric drum set (though her expression is as much "Ned" as it is sincere!)
(Really, isn't it the dream of every parent to give her child's children a drum set?)
Ned hit the jackpot on gift giving, making for Tom a book of the lyrics from the old play our kids did in grammar school, GoGo the Blue Gorilla. He also had t-shirts made for Walt, Tom and Me with pictures of our old dogs, Toby and Seymour on them.
We gave Tom a one-of-a-kind, commissioned-for-him addition to his future "man cave," a Heidi Bekebrede original 49er mug.
At the end of the evening, we played an old, old video I had found on You Tube, which was highlights from the first production of Music Man, that Paul and Jeri were in. I don't now how much Bri got out of it, but I got all verklempt sitting there watching our grandchildren watching Uncle Paul perform in a musical that Brianna had just been in.
After David died, Paul said he didn't want Dave to be "just the one who died," because he realized we never talked about my sister, who died in 1971. So I guess by showing these old videos, we are making sure that Paul, too, doesn't become just "the one who died."
Joe tried to get the video to play on his monster TV, but was not successful, so the kids watched it on the iPad. Wouldn't you know that as soon as they left, Joe was able to get it on the TV after all.
So we've had our "big Christmas" and now have two "little Christmases" to go, but last night will be hard to top for fun.