Christmas is crazy with traditions, and every family has its own. I have a friend whose family all open packages of new pajamas on Christmas Eve, put them on, and drive around looking a Christmas lights. Another friend takes her kids to the movies on Christmas day. Another travels to San Francisco to ice skate and enjoy the city. Another tells me Christmas isn’t complete without prime rib.
My family has its own. My husband felt very strongly about being honest with our children. He didn’t want us to lie to them, so we never introduced the Santa concept. My kids grew up knowing that their parents bought Christmas presents for them, not because they were good, but because we love them. I always tried to give them a variety of gifts: toys, clothes, and, of course, books, so even in years when finances were lean, they had at least three presents to open. But I tried to cut costs where I could.
One year, I decided gift tags were an unnecessary luxury. I didn’t need them. I could make it work without them. I would simply color code the paper. Each child would have a unique wrapping paper. And then I second guessed myself. I remembered loving that my presents came in all colors and patterns as a kid and how much fun that was. My mother saved wrapping paper, and some were beloved year after year. Didn’t I want that for my kids? But no, I was going to try my idea.
Since my oldest daughter was selling wrapping paper for a school fundraiser that year, I selected three rolls of coordinating, quality paper. When the paper came, I chose one for each child: shiny, embossed red for Mercedes, candy canes for Justinian, gold angels for Alicia. I worried that the red was too plain. Would it be okay to have only one paper for all your presents? Might that be a let-down and not as fun?
But I was committed. I put the presents under the tree mid-month, and my kids ran to see which was for who. No tags? I explained how it would work. They each had their own paper. Before I could say which was whose, they started to guess. The girls made multiple guesses. Justinian called it out right the first time. “Guess again,” I said. Remember I couldn’t lie, but misdirection was part of the fun. They had a blast guessing until Christmas Eve when we open gifts. They all decided the red paper was the best. Naturally, I worried that they might not like the paper I chose for them.
When it was time to open gifts, they were delighted. I let them guess one last time, and then Alicia, as the youngest, passed out all the gifts. My children loved it, so a family tradition was born. Justinian, of course, continues to guess right the first time every year. “Try again,” I say. One year to mix it up, I bought three rolls of ribbon (silver, gold and blue) and coded the gifts that way, just to really confuse the issue and to use up a bunch of partial rolls of paper from previous years.
Now, my kids are grown, but we continue the tradition because it’s fun. As this blog post comes out on Christmas Eve, my son will be guessing right the first time yet again.
“Are you sure about that?” I’ll say.
“Of course he is, mom,” my girls will say. “He gets it right every year!”
Steal My Heart
Hot contemporary ~ Romantic suspense
When a fantasy turns into a cold reality
Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier than sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between the sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting?
The situation might be challenging but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit.
The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?
More About Aimee
Having lived in both California and Texas, Aimee O’Brian now resides in the beautiful wine country. With her three children grown and experiencing their own adventures, she and her husband are free to explore the world. When she’s not reading, writing, or planting even more perennials in her garden, she can be found stomping through ancient ruins and getting lost in museums.