That’s Mine!

Seeing my name on the gifts that my family gave me this Christmas made me feel very loved. Knowing that they took the time to purchase or make the gifts they felt were in my best interest was very kind of them.

As much as I think that Christmas is for our children, I still enjoy opening gifts. The anticipation and surprise that is associated with gift giving appeals to me. Giving and receiving has its emotional benefits.

We may not have gotten spoiled this year with an abundance of presents, but we did have a great time sharing with one another. Seeing the joy in my children as I unwrapped their gifts to me was almost better than the joy I saw when they unwrapped their gifts from my wife and I.

Maybe this is the dawning of a new way of gifting to one another. More joy being shared instead of just stuff. My hope is that our children feel it is better to give than receive. I think my wife and I have done a good job raising kind and caring young adults. That’s the gift that keeps on giving.

One Week Remains

It’s getting down to crunch time! Only one shopping week remains to get that special gift for your special someone. Unless you are in a perfect relationship like I am- where my wife said to me, “You don’t have to get me anything for Christmas.”

That is not what I wanted to hear. I’m fairly certain that she’s lying. I’m no good at guessing games. So if she dropped hints all year long- its likely that I missed them.

My wife did however buy herself a few items and give them to me to wrap. I guess not knowing which gift is inside which wrap is good enough? At this stage in life, one may as well buy what they want and gift it to themselves. That way you’re not disappointed and display “Present Face” for those not-so-amazing gifts.

In the past I’ve bought her jewelry she doesn’t wear and craft supplies she doesn’t use. I’ve even picked up kitchen knives and dishes in the past. These are more for everyone, but I throw her name on them so she has something to unwrap.

Yup, Christmas gift giving to my wife has me turning into a husband cliché. I’m not sure how to break the cycle. Maybe one Christmas I’ll nail it. Until then, I wonder how late Walmart is open?

Wish List Time

Christmas is on the horizon- so that means gift giving and holiday cheer. The holiday cheer part is getting into full swing at our home. Minus the music… that starts at the beginning of December. Oh and Christmas Trees- we have numerous trees that go up starting December 7th. I’m getting off topic… let’s talk “Wish Lists”.

As a child, I remember filling a page of dreams, or rather filling it with stuff that my young mind thought I needed. Video games, Transformers, remote control cars, or whatever toy was popular. Up until we had three kids, I still made a list. It turned into an adult list involving housewares, tools, and small appliances. Now I make those purchases myself and get exactly what I need or want.

Wish lists always have been filled with hopes. An idealistic vision of what would make your life complete. But if you don’t get everything on the list, there can be a sense of disappointment. As parents, the lists can be beneficial. You want to give your kids so much in life, but you also have to make sure they get what they need. Going into debt over material stuff isn’t a good idea though.

Our kids have lists. It’s smattered with things they think would make their lives fulfilled. Things like books, pens, art supplies and music are topping the list. Knowing that they want to create more than consume makes me happy. I’m not quite sure where or when it changed, but I’ll gladly support their artistic side.

I’m sure Santa will support it as well- if you know what I mean.

What’s on your wish list? Do you set limits on what your kids ask for? How much stuff is too much stuff?

Let me know in the comments.

What I Didn’t Get For Christmas

Sometimes you just don’t get what you want for Christmas. Of course Christmas is a time of giving; But receiving is pretty sweet as well. I’ve tried to drop hints to my family over the years. I guess my subtlety was overlooked– Most likely ignored.

I had a wonderful Christmas, as I do every year. With good laughs and lots of love being spread. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. However, maybe next year Santa could find room in his sleigh for one of these items I’d kinda like:

I have been wanting a large 3D Printer for ages. Maybe not that large. But still, I love movie replicas. I see this as a way of doing it as a hobby with the idea of making my own movie replica props. Full size Han Solo in Carbonite? Yes please!

Speaking of movie props, on my list is the Leg Lamp with crate from the film “A Christmas Story”. I have wanted this for nearly three decades. Ever since I first saw the film as a teenager. It screams Christmas to me. Yes, my wife has known I have wanted it but refuses to buy it. She’s kinda like Ralphie’s mom in that aspect.

See that watch Elvis is wearing? There’s just something about the design of a Hamilton Ventura wrist watch. I’m not a watch guy, but this is the piece I have always wanted. Forget Rolex, that’s way out of my price range, or the trendy 1980’s Casio calculator watch (I had one of those at one point as a kid)- a Hamilton Ventura is where it’s at.

I have many other things I have hinted at that are just regular items, like a sawzall or outdoor speakers, but this dad just seems to get ignored. Honestly, I’m okay with that. All of these items I’ve mentioned, I could just go out and get myself. That’s not what Christmas is about.

I am delighted with the gifts I did receive from my family. Many of them surprised me. From a jar of mustard to slippers, or a stuffed animal that shares my birthday, or a keepsake from our trip to Japan- my family knows the right things to give me that hits me in the feels.

For this, I am grateful and wouldn’t change a thing.

Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I’m not going to write much today. Just going to share some photos of our Christmas Eve fun.

First was our traditional dinner of Fancy Sandwiches, Schnitzel and potato salad. This year, everyone helped in making the Sandwiches. Our youngest helped with the salad and our oldest helped make the schnitzel.

After dinner we retired to the theater room and opened our Christmas PJs. The kids had fun taking selfies for Instagram. Afterwards we watched Aggretsuko Heavy Metal Christmas and Powerpuff Girls: The Fight Before Christmas. An easy way to unwind before bed.

Once the kids were in bed, my wife and I got to work laying out their gifts. And one last hiding place behind the door for Creepy Santa to surprise the kids. Next will be the the start of the big day filled with gifts and fun!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wrap It Up.

Pretty sure that my wife and I are ready for Christmas now. At least in the gift department area. We always do our shopping throughout the year and we try and make “Black Friday” the last day possible. Most years we don’t even do shopping this weekend. That’s how prepared we are for Christmas! Now to move onto wrapping the gifts.

I’m hoping to get most of the presents wrapped up over the next week or so before the kids get out of school. We won’t need tags either because of my Geniusness plan from years ago. Wrapping before hand also gives us a chance to decide if we are giving too much or too little to our kids. If it’s too much, a gift or two will stored away for a future birthday.

The kids in school makes it easier to wrap during the week. We can take over the dining room table and whip through the gifts in an afternoon or two. I want to try and get them wrapped up soon. I’m not sure if our kids hunt around the house for gifts or not.

I used to search for gifts.

I spoiled a few Christmases for myself as a child. I would search closets, attics, under beds, even in the trunk of my parent’s cars. All in the crazy search for gifts for me or my sister. I just wanted to know how to react on Christmas morning. After finding the stash of presents, I planned out each reaction I would give. Super excited or awestruck? Which is the best face to use? Should I jump up and hug my parents? Being a child is tough as it is. But the obligations to show enthusiasm is equally tough. Even for the things that weren’t exactly desired. (I didn’t want the cassette player boom box, but it definitely got lots of use later on as I grew up.)

Hopefully my kids didn’t follow in my footsteps over the past few years. Maybe I should pay attention to their reactions this year. Will dad get a hug for no reason? I guess I’ll find out.

Is The Magic Over?

Post Christmas time.  We are putting away the gifts and eating the last of the rich food.  Soon the trees, lights and decorations will come down.  But that’s not what I mean by “Is The Magic Over?”


My three children are well past the age of believing in Santa.  But something else has occurred that I suspected was happening.  I found out while we were having dinner the other day.  Our middle daughter let it slip out…

She mentioned that she “accidentally” saw some Christmas gifts before Christmas.  After some discussion with the other two, my wife and I discovered that all three had “accidentally on purpose” found our hidden Christmas gifts.


When I was a child/teen I avidly looked for my Christmas gifts prior to the big day.  My parents weren’t very good at hiding places.  Pretty sure my mother figured out that I was searching for the gifts.  Sometimes she resorted to locking the gifts in the trunk of the car in hopes that I wouldn’t find them.  It was never spoken about, so I never had to deny it.  Now my kids are doing it.

But is the magic gone?  Or is it a rite of passage into adulthood?  Does the joy you feel from a surprise gift occur while you’re alone.  The happiness that we as parents once saw on their faces is now going away.  Perhaps the magic is gone for me as a father.  I loved seeing their eyes light up as they unwrapped their favorite gifts.  I worry that next year it won’t happen.  I worry that perhaps this is the beginning of the end of that magic. 

I guess I’ll find out next year.  Or I just need to hide the gifts better!

I’m Going to Share My Ingeniusness

I have an early Christmas Gift that I wish to share with all of my friends who have more than one child.  Please share this wisdom with your friends as well.


Having one child at Christmas is a blessing.  Pretty much everything is for that child.  The same was for our first daughter.  All of the gifts were hers!

When our second daughter was born, we ran into a dilemma.  We now have two girls in the house who are only about two years apart in age.  Sharing toys was about to get hectic.  And unwrapping Christmas gifts was going to be a challenge.  Putting their names on the gifts wasn’t going to help, since reading wasn’t really an option.

So, I came up with the most ingenious of ideas- I colour coded the gifts.

WHAT?

Yes.  Our oldest- Random- her gifts were wrapped in red paper.  Our other daughter- Darwin- her gifts were wrapped in green paper.  

Pure genius.

Then the inevitable happened two years later.  We had a third child.  Luckily for us, there is an entire rainbow of colours to choose from.  So our son- Theory- would get all of his gifts wrapped in blue paper.  Santa gave them a letter explaining this on Theory’s first Christmas.  


Years later, we still follow this rule.  Our children have gotten accustomed to not seeing nametags on gifts.  They just go for the colour that is for them.

For family gifts- we use silver or gold paper.  

Some days I just have to pat myself on the back for this idea.  

Merry Christmas!

It’s Not Really a Lie…

I have a talent of expressing half truths and giving out just enough information as needed.  I’ve done it all my life- usually only when it benefits me.  My favorite part is that I know what I’m saying isn’t true, but I can make it believable.  

This is especially handy when it comes to my children at Christmas time.  


Sorry, but they are way past the “we believe in Santa” stage.  I’m talking about lies regarding what they are getting for Christmas.  I can string them along quite nicely and shock them with a gift (or lack of a gift…) on the special day.  

Part of the magic of Christmas is not knowing.  My wife hates that I can guess what she gives me almost every year.  But, I’m good at catching her off guard with that “WoW” gift.  I also enjoy those moments when one of my kids goes, “Huh.  Dad really does listen.”  The look on their faces is priceless and heartwarming.

What am I going to do with a gun rack?


I wonder if I will get surprised this holiday season?  Doubtful.  But I know I’ll be surprising my family quite a bit.  I’m excited.  Hopefully my kids won’t read today’s blog…

Kitsch 

There’s always someone who has to sell it and someone to buy it. I’m talking about kitschy stuff.


We travelled to Vancouver Island to visit my mother.  We left early from our home in order to catch the first ferry.  Made it on with 15 minutes to spare.  Score!  BC Ferries sells Kitsch with Canada and BC Ferries plastered all over their products at jacked up prices.  I have zero desire to spend more money than I have to to take the vessel on an hour and forty minute boat ride.  In fact, this trip I chose to stay on the vehicle deck and nap with my dog in the car.  This proved to be both good and bad.  By the end, my allergies were in full force and I was miserable.  Back to blogging about Kitsch.  


We got off the ferry and drove for about forty minutes and hit a little town called “Coombs”.  It’s a BC landmark.  Really.  Known for one thing.  Goats on a roof.


This little shop has expanded the town into more of these unique stores.  All specializing in selling Kitschy Junk.  Stuff that you see and say, “This would be the perfect gift for so-and-so.”  You spend the money leave the store and as soon as you hit the road, you regret the purchase. But now you are committed to giving this crap to your family/friend or coworker.

It’s just stuff.


What do you do when you are given Kitsch?  You say thank you.  If a family member gave it to you, you are forced to keep it and show it off when they stop by.  “I totally love it.  Everyone who sees it says how unique it is.” Loosely translated, “It’s a piece of crap that clashes with the rest of my home, but you seem to think it’s what I wanted.”  Kids giving gifts to parents and grandparents are prime examples.  

Stopping at my mother’s home, I see it everywhere.  Gramma likes dolphins about as much as a preteen girl it seems.

My mother has more stuff scattered throughout her home.  Many are gifts from people she knows.  Bought (or made) from local shops and artists.  She appreciates everything she has been given.


In the right setting, the Kitsch falls under unique and one of a kind.  But more often then not, it shows up in a donation bin or garage sale.  Stop the Kitsch!  Our landfills will thank you.  But hey, here’s the new sticker for my car: