Our family is being spoiled totally rotten this holiday season!
Last week we got elfed... it is supposed to be a secret, but we totally knew it was my mom and the boys... My mom went WAY overboard on the whole elfing thing, because she wanted to combine two traditions- Elfing and the BIG Costco yummies that Kenny's dad always sent him. We totally loved it!
Sunday I was lucky enough to 'win' a patio table and 4 chairs from freecycle!! When I am actually able to receive something that is offered on freecycle it feels like a win sometimes. Kenny doesn't think we have enough room, but him and my Brother went over and picked it up anyway.
Monday I hosted a stocking exchange at work. I borrowed Michelle's idea (each person buys one stocking stuffer item for each participant and you end up with a stocking full of goodies) and ran with it! We had 13 participants and everyone seemed to really love it and I know I did! Everyone got a pretty good mix of items, but Donna had 90% Penguin items and Kenny had 90% Butterfingers in all shapes and sizes - lol. It was a great way to start the Christmas work week.
Monday night we had the chance to go out to dinner with Jereme and Melodi before they ran off on their Jamaican honeymoon. We met at Cracker Barrel - yummo- and enjoyed some good old fashion food and company.
Wednesday my mom and I opened our secret Santa swaps... My friend Carol hosted a "Santa Sack Swap" basically you made a sack of some kind and fill it with gifts. At the beginning of each month Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec you mail a package with a few goodies for your partner, then at Christmas you have a whole sack of goodies to open.
My mom's partner was a little flaky so Carol ended up adopting her and spoiled her rotten with goodies.
My partner, Cheryl was absolutely over the top AMAZING! I let the boys open the wrapping paper since they just love to open presents even if its not for them and as the would hand or 'toss' the gifts to me I was amazed over and over again. Most of the items were beautifully handmade items - an apron, bags, table runners and more. I love everything and feel totally spoiled and grateful. Cheryl was such a sweet partner, not only did she spoil me rotten, but she was also very understanding and didn't get mad at all when my swap package arrived late. I had a very, very good experience with this swap and it was kind of exciting to see the presents trickle in each month.
My brother's family got a huge surprise, him and the boys were 'adopted' by the Food Bank where he works! When they had asked him about it Brian told them they didn't really need anything, but they insisted. So today was the day they gave him ALL the stuff. A truck load full actually. Presents, housewares, a small pre- lite tree etc. He kept asking them, "Is this really all for us?" They said, "Yes and you deserve it. This is what you get for working so hard." That evening my mom, dad, brother, Kenny and I spent the evening sorting and wrapping the treasures. Brian even saved some of the items for the boys upcoming birthdays, because it was just too much. I cannot believe the generosity of my brothers coworkers. Although, they are just things it was SO wonderful to see someone else shower my brother with blessings and let him know people care about him, the path he is on and those wonderful boys he is raising. I have always liked participating in adopt and angel or adopt a family type activities, but to see one in action and really see the joy it can bring to people makes it much more a priority for me now. I always thought it was for the kids and about getting the right gift, but I think part of it is also for the parents and them being able to have gifts for their kids to open on Christmas Day. You can say all you want that Christmas is not about the presents, but it is a little bit... and I think that is okay as long as you also remember the true reason for the season.
We have been getting lots of cards, letters and even a few packages in the mail. It fun to hear from old friends and see updated pictures (especially from the people who aren't on Fb or dont' have e-mail).
Hope your holiday season is going as fabulously as ours!!