Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grandma's Christmas Present

The kids are all grown and gone. The last few years have been quiet holidays, once we've done the "blended family" meal the week before Christmas. We usually have three or four of our eight kids at these events, plus girlfriends, wives and grandkids. We have Costco lasagna and salad and dessert and we do a "pick a gift or steal a gift" and then we talk and then everyone leaves. Our kids know each other pretty well because of visitation schedules while they were all growing up, but these days, the only time they see each other is at our house the week before Christmas. We usually take off for ten days sometime in December to get away from the month-long festivities. I loved the holidays when I was growing up and when my kids were small, but that really wonderful time passes, as we all know, and it can be a sad time of year.

This year I decided I wanted a special Christmas present - to have just my kids and their girlfriends and my granddaughters for a Christmas ritual that includes a meal together, stockings, and opening of gifts. My granddaughters live in Oregon with their mother, so I've never experienced Christmas with them. And their dad, my older son, lives in Oregon also, and it's been 20 years since I've spent Christmas with him. And my younger son always spends Christmas with his girlfriend's family. So I made a small adjustment for my Christmas present - the date. Here's what Grandma's Christmas Present looks like.

On December 26 my younger son James will drop his girlfriend Keri off at our house and drive to the train station in Seattle to pick up my older son Russell and his girlfriend Amanda and my 11-year-old twin granddaughters Mary and Malayne. They'll come to our house where Grandpa Art will have prepared a turkey dinner (he'll be working on it all day, in perfect contentment). We'll share a meal and, after the girls go to bed, stockings will be filled at our house for the first time in 20 years - I was a little rusty about selecting, but Toys R Us and the Dollar Store had what I was looking for. In the morning gifts will be unwrapped by the girls. I sent shopping money and their dad did all the work of choosing and shipping. I'll just do the wrapping. The 27th will be a quiet family day - or at least an unplanned one. On the 28th, I will take my older son and his girlfriend to the train station. On the 1st, Grandpa Art and I will make the seven-our drive to Oregon to take the twins home.

This Christmas Present has been a long time coming. Everyone has grown up, including Grandma. She's gotten more flexible through the years, and December 26 looks like a tremendous date for Christmas. She's realized that it's perfectly fine to buy six train tickets and all the trimmings for just the right kind of Christmas. She's looking forward to whatever happens this year. And she's anticipating memories will be made.

Doesn't Grandma's Christmas Present sound, well, grand?


23 comments:

DJan said...

Yes, Linda, it does. It sounds absolutely perfect. I do hope you will decide to share pictures on your blog. I am having a very quiet Christmas and look forward with anticipation at enjoying the holidays among all my extended community of friends. Facebook will also allow me to share in the enjoyment of my family members who are not here. Thanks for having decided to write this blog and share it with me, who is a bit family and holiday deficient. :-)

Judy and Emma said...

It's best to do what's important to you. Enjoy!

#1Nana said...

It sound wonderful! Last year I had my kids and grandkids together when we all met in San Diego to celebrate Christmas at my brother's house. We even went to the mountains so the grandkids could play in the snow...and then we went to the beach.

This year we are home with just our son who lives here, but we just bought a new tv, so we can watch movies...not quite a Hallmark Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Linda said...

I can tell you've put a lot of thought and effort into 'your' Christmas gift. Good for you. I hope it turns out as well as you're hoping it will.

Retired English Teacher said...

Yes, it does sound grand. I am so happy for you and this plan. It will be so nice to have everyone there for a special time. Really, Linda, I am just thrilled for you. I know how hard this is to pull off.

Terra said...

You came up with a brilliant idea and it sounds like it will be a big event and joyful few days. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Galen Pearl said...

Very nice!! Once I grew up and had kids, I never went home again for Christmas, although my mom did come to spend a few Christmases with us, most memorably in Bangkok!

Enjoy your special gift.

Janette said...

I'm taking stockings to a family gathering in March. Hard when the kids get older...and move away.

Lynilu said...

Ours was a blended family, too, and as they grew up (and away) we had fewer and fewer opportunities to have even a couple of the five together at once. But the good part is what you describe .... choosing a date or dates to celebrate. One year we had FOUR Chritmases! And they've been as early as the second week of December and as late as the third week of January! They magic is in the family togetherness, regardless of the date! Celebrate away!!

Out on the prairie said...

Some good choices, I had a rough time when mine left the nest.I tend to enjoy somewhere exotic where i offer my children a chance to go along.It is hard with careers and added family to put it all in one.One year after i was first married I had 3 Thanksgivings and didn't care for that.

Rita said...

Yes, it sounds like the perfect Christmas present! Enjoy every moment. :):)

Arkansas Patti said...

Absolutely. What a marvelous time you all have arranged. Sounds like tradition to me. Take lots of pictures.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

It sounds grand, indeed, Linda! I hope each day of your holiday season is wonderful!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

The perfect way to spend any holiday is doing exactly what you want with exactly who you want. I hope your family has the best Christmas this year!

Ms Sparrow said...

For me, Christmas has always been the day when the family got together, not a date on the calendar.

Olga said...

It does sound grand. Good for you.
Merry Christmas!

Nance said...

A stupendous idea! What's the point waiting around for other folks to come through on a plan. At this point, we can write the script. May you have one of the best holidays in memory.

Teresa Evangeline said...

It sounds wonderful, Linda. Christmas isn't a date, it's a state of mind. Have a beautiful time with your family.

Sandi said...

It sounds absolutely grand, and wonderful and perfect! What a great way of meeting your needs/wants, and making some new memories, too.

Christmas certainly does change over the years. But, the memories made have little to do with the actual day, right?

I'll be thinking of you and your perfect Christmas wish days with your loved ones.

Perpetua said...

It sounds absolutely fantastic, Linda. What a great idea. I hope you all have a wonderful time with stockings sand all the rest.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Yes, it sounds absolutely wonderful. It sounds as though you've developed a knack for creating new opportunities to enjoy time with your family, and you have a pretty good plan for making it doable. Have a wonderful time, and remember that things don't have to be perfect to be memorable! Merry Christmas!

Linda Reeder said...

Your present sounds wonderful! I hope you have a joyous houseful of family fun!

fiftyodd said...

I've only got two married children and Christmas is complicated enough. Luckily, I have a son-in-law who thinks everyone (his family and ours) should come to his house every Christmas!