Preparing for Christmas: Precious Family Time

Retiring Tina

Preparing for Christmas: Precious Family Time

Dec 19, 2016

My presents are all wrapped and under the tree, a chore I am proud to say that I accomplished before Christmas Eve.  Of course my friend Marci always has her shopping and wrapping done early, but for me this is a first!  Having retired this year, I vowed to enjoy the holidays and not stress so much.  Since I am not working, it has been much easier to shop a little here and a little there.  Much better than trying to finish getting the last few presents on my lunch hour!  So with a little planning, I have been able to complete all my shopping and Christmas related chores early.  And – hold onto your hat - my house is also ready for all the guests that will be coming!  Well, maybe not up to Marci’s standards, but I have upped my game a little and taken some tips from her, making the rooms more comfortable and purchasing a few things to make their stay more special.  I have to say I am rather proud of myself. 

My daughter, on the other hand, is not faring so well.  This afternoon I received a frantic phone call from her, panicking because they don’t have all their shopping done yet, let alone the wrapping!  Well, I remember those days.  It could be a challenge just to get away to shop without the children, and stressful trying to do all of the wrapping while they were sleeping!  Yet they were some of the happiest years of my life.  However, telling my daughter that someday she will look back on today with much fondness is probably not the best approach at this time.  (Kind of like when you are young and older people tell you time passes faster when you get older.  You simply don’t understand it.  And although I still find it almost mystical since there are still 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour, somehow, time goes by much faster these days than I could have imagined.  But try explaining that to a young person!)

So I volunteered for Hubby and me to babysit tonight.  “No problem”, I told my daughter, while “Grandparents to the rescue!” rang in my head!  After I hung up the phone, I grabbed Hubby and explained we now need to remove all the carefully placed gifts from under the tree as we are babysitting tonight.  “Do you mean all the gifts that just last night you insisted we get wrapped and organized under the tree for a perfect distribution …are those the gifts you are talking about?”  Even after all these years his subtle humor delivered with a little smirk still makes me laugh.  “Yes, those gifts” I tell him with a grin.

And then the task of figuring out where to hide them!  At our age, we have to careful about “hiding” things, lest we forget where we hid them.  Grandchildren have a way of getting into all kinds of closets, doors and cupboards that have not been opened for a long time, so this can be quite challenging since around Christmas they seem to have a 6th sense that allows them to “sniff out” hidden presents.  After inspecting every area of our home, we decide up high on closet shelves is our best bet, and stash all the gifts on upper shelves in every closet we have.  Quite an accomplishment I must say since most of the upper shelves were already very well-occupied, but at least the kids won’t be snooping around their presents tonight.

Dinner is going to be the easy part of the night.  Pizza from the local pizza shop that the grandkids love.  It’s something they all enjoy, and as long as we have some with just pepperoni and some with just cheese everybody is happy.  Like I said, nice and easy.  We have some juice boxes on hand, so once the pizza is delivered, dinner is served!

After pizza, we can bake and decorate Christmas cookies.  Even Grandpa likes to dabble in the decorating.  Thank you Betty Crocker or Pillsbury Dough Boy, or whoever it was, that invented the ready-to-bake sugar cookies.  Just slice and bake a few minutes and you’re ready for the fun part … decorating with sprinkles, icing, candies and colored sugars while Grandpa takes a few pics.  Mmm Mmm Good!

Once the cookies are all decorated, we can bring out the Christmas classic movies - Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  We will all get our cozy jammies on and watch movies with a sugar cookie snack, and my sweet little ones’ eyelids will get heavy, and then with a kiss goodnight, Grandpa will carry them to bed.  Settled in for the night, Grandpa and I will look at the little sleeping faces and remember a time, that doesn’t seem so long ago, when we were looking at our daughter’s little face.  These are the times sweet memories are made of, one of the best parts of the holiday season. 

I love being able to help my daughter out and spend some special time with the grandkids.  After a breakfast of pancakes and sausages in the morning, the kids will come to pick up the grandchildren and the house will be quiet again.  We will miss them, and at the same time look forward to resting up after all the excitement.  Hubby and I will retrieve the gifts from the closet shelves, and … once again … carefully arrange them under the tree.  Then we will sit down to relax, review the pics from cookie-decorating multiple times, laughing as we remember the decorating antics and saying things like “we have some really special grandkids, they are so smart … cute… funny … talented, etc. etc.”

While I am still proud of getting all my Christmas “chores” done early, I am truly proud of my family and the love we have for each other.  Family … One of the sweetest treasures of this life.