Mike's parents are serving an LDS mission in Washington DC and in anticipation of being gone for Christmas, they left presents for their grandchildren and children left behind. The day after Thanksgiving we had a family party with Mike's siblings and their children. For ease and scheduling reasons, Mike's sister arrived with the oversized sacks full of Christmas presents for the parents to take home and have ready for Christmas.
(Remember the year's worth of birthday presents they gave to us back in January when Mike's parents left on their mission? I will have you know, each child opened their assigned present on THEIR ACTUAL BIRTHDAY. As for me, well yeah, you can read about my birthday present HERE.)
And so, what do you do on a November evening with a bag full of Christmas presents?
Well first of all, you know darn well before long a child is going to innocently ask if we can open them now. So you say very uncertainly, "Well it isn't Christmas. Maybe you should ask what Daddy thinks." And then Dad rolls his eyes and Mom starts all sorts of rationalizations, and the children are looking with big, wide open eyes and almost-smiles as they anticipate the conversation steering clearly in their favor. And then Dad rolls his eyes again and says something along the lines of "Whatever!"
Cheers are heard from everyone, as each child sits patiently awaiting a present to be placed on their lap. And then Dad, restoring some power and control suggests that each gift be opened one at a time from youngest to oldest.
And because it is NOVEMBER 25th not DECEMBER 25th the excitement and enthusiasm of opening the presents from Grandma and Grandpa seem all the more sweeter because they aren't lost in the shuffle of an assortment of other gifts on Christmas day.
Tractors were zoomed down the tile floor, dangerous boy ideas were being read, notecards were being written on, stickers were being stuck, and a soft blanket was not let go of for hours.
But then you have the problem of exactly how and when the children say thank you. Because you don't want them to do it that night, because clearly the presents were not intended for another month. But then you worry that Christmas Day will come and in the thrills of new presents on Christmas Day it might be hard to remember the specifics of presents a month before. Even though at the time there was some serious excitement about each one.
Considering three weeks later the gifts are now gently used, including the tablecloth that has served me well three times already, now is probably as good a time as ever to say...
Thank you.And we're sorry.
And we love you.
But I can't refrain from opening presents early.