In my family, Christmas Eve is the time for the family to get together, feast, and have Christmas. Christmas Day is reserved to Santa Claus and the bedlam following his visit.
I have two younger brothers and a younger sister. They each have two children for a total of four boys and two girls. They range in age from 4 to 8.
I never raised any small children. Mine came as teenagers and are now grown. As my nephews and nieces are at the perfect Christmas age, I have to find the perfect presents. Two years ago, this is what I did.
While searching the toy isles, I asked for advice from several parents. I had to find out what was hot that year, what was recommended, and what was not.
That year, one of the hot new items was moon sand. Moon sand is a granular substance that sticks to itself for indoor play. This was apparently a favorite among children. Wondering how easy it would be to get out of carpet, I concluded that this was perfect for the two youngest boys!
I searched high and low for something to get the two oldest children; both girls. There were many promising choices. However, a really hot item for girls is a line of products called "Bratz." Bratz are a line of teenage dolls, with a Saturday morning cartoon, that dress and act in a very risque way. If they were real people, they would be the type I could never have brought home to mom. The Bratz had a puckered lip shaped makeup case with real makeup in it. I thought, "don't seven and eight year old girls love makeup?" Then, it occurred to me that this will surely wind up all over the walls or the girls will find a way to get to school or church looking like painted strumpets. This was perfect for the girls.
My sister has two boys. They are good boys, but they are still boys. My sister is extra religious and extra concerned. But these are six and seven year old boys. I found what is near and dear to every young boy's heart - guns. I bought them each a cap pistol, pistol belt, a lever action cap rifle, and 5,000 caps each. Peeerrrrrfict.
After church and a meal of fancy hors d'oeuvres, it was time to exchange gifts. When it was my turn to hand out presents, I gave the gifts for the two littlest boys first. You should have seen the faces! They were delighted and started running around; both of my brothers heads drooped. One said that his son had been begging for moon sand, but he decided no way. The other groaned about his carpets.
Next was time to give gifts to the girls. When they opened their presents, the girls were so excited, they were laterally bouncing. They couldn't wait to start playing with the makeup. Both mothers glared at me.
Finally, my sister's boys were waiting expectantly. By this time, their mother and father were a bit apprehensive. The boys tore into their presents to reveal the guns and caps. Their eyes went wide! I had to show them how to load the caps a few times, but soon they were running and screaming around the house shooting everyone and everything. In short order all of the children were in on the act and my parents house sounded like Chinese New Year and smelled of gunpowder smoke.
Ahh, sweet Christmas memories. Now, what to get them this year . . . . .