Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Me & my niece in my perm phase and her munchkin phase.

High anticipation! Allow me to paint a little word picture for you. It is one of my favorite memories of our Christmases when the boys were little. .......

My two siblings and I would gather with our spouses and young kids at Mom and Dad's Christmas saturated home. Uncle Bob's camera would be flashing away, Aunt Kimberly is busy in the kitchen with her great creations. Grandpa is poking at the fireplace and Grandma is re-lighting candles that I have blown out because of the little rowdy kids all over the place. (Clarification: MY boys!) 

Our family took gift time very seriously. There was no free-for-all chaos with everyone opening presents at the same time. We wanted the kids to connect the gift with the person who gave it to them, so they opened one at time taking turns around the circle. Then they said "Thank you" to the gift giver. 

Even the stocking stuffers were ripped open ONE-AT-A-TIME!

Before opening the main-big gifts we would arrange the kids in a circle on the floor and put their ridiculously over-flowing stocking in their lap. Can you see the picture? Eight little kids and three older kids all with tiny presents in their laps but NOT ALLOWED TO OPEN THEM! 

The tension was high with a kind of frenzied calm if you can grasp such a thing. 


Starting with the youngest, we would tell them to open ONE stocking stuffer while the rest all watched. Of course being a little munchkin, this one would be slow and unsure of what was really happening. Everyone would be giving gentle advice, "Go ahead, rip it!", "Open it up Honey!", "What do you have?".

Loud cheers erupted as the new treasure was revealed. It could be as insignificant as a candy cane or rubber ball, but it got applauded and rejoiced over. 

Now the next child could open ONE stocking stuffer, and on it went around the circle until the stockings were up-ended and shown to be empty. 

I would watch my sons as they watched their cousins opening their presents. Rocker Son's little boy fingers would be stealthily exploring the unseen shapes in his stocking even though his eyes were innocently following his cousins progress with a package. Writer Son would be giving advice on the best way to use the new toy and meeting the eyes of his brother, communicating unspoken opinions. 

HIGH ANTICIPATION was the energy in that noisy and busy house around the Christmas tree. I don't know how my siblings felt but I was buzzing with it also, though I am sure I appeared calm on the outside. I loved the excitement of being with my brother and sister and their families in the house where we had grown up. 

I know that my Mom loved the high anticipation also. She had a funny habit of trying to be passed over when it came her turn to open her one gift at a time. She wanted to pile them up next to her and wait as long as possible to open them. 

Recently I wrote that there is no high anticipation in our home this year because we are having an empty-nest Christmas. But I was wrong. I am getting that little buzz in my heart that makes me smile and sing goofy songs around the house. I am wrapping presents with a grin as I use the REAL RIBBON rather than the paper stuff "just because!". 

There is a candy cane in my coffee and the Christmas carols are blasting all day long. The buzz of anticipation is for more than a one day holiday. A brand new year is approaching, new possibilities and new adventures....though I still have absolutely no idea what that means in reality! 

HIGH ANTICIPATION is a beautiful way to look into the unknown don't you think? The fidgeting cousins in a circle on the floor had no idea what was hidden inside their personalized stockings, but their hopes were high and they were ready to say "Thank you!" no matter what it was. 

I want to live like that. 
Merry Christmas & Happy High Anticipation!

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  1. I think that's a good idea--to have them open one at a time and take turns that way. More appreciation. We won't be having a fancy Christmas either as it's just me and hubby and no kids and our families are far away.

  2. A great way to relate the gift of life. I love the hope that comes from not knowing what the future holds yet. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful in advance!

  3. Your family was a LOT like my family...we always tried to do the same thing. Sometimes it didn't quite work out that way as some children (and adults) got too excited and couldn't wait to open their gifts...but even then it was wonderfully much joy and fun and laughter. Yes, I miss those sounds too. I like the way you are creating your own days of anticipation and joy right now. Great idea! Sometimes JOY just happens, whether we expect it to or not! Yay!!!

  4. Oh. My. Gosh. We had exactly the same family, the same circle, the same trembling agitation of the children (including us as kids). All just the same. And even though I used to roll my eyes at my parents, I recreated that tradition exactly. But...I need to be reminded to see the gift of life the same way. Thank you.

  5. Sweet, memory Susie. I love the way you look so Magazine Mom. ;) High ANticipation is what we all need to have ...He is coming, soon!

  6. Susan;
    It's nice to read about how families come together to celebrate Christmas.Last year we had part of ours early in December. This year we received and sent gifts via USPS. I think that's why I have been so down lately.

    1. I understand. Our current Christmas is a very quiet one also, that is why I am intentionally looking back and trying to change my mood from sad to thankful. Sometimes it ends up kinda bittersweet, but I have to believe that it won't be like this forever. Blessings on you friend!


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