Kathy Crabb Hannah, what is your favorite Christmas memory ?
When Steve and I got married he had no clue what he had signed up for, no clue. We have a Christmas event that resembles a tribal feast/celebration. It’s pure pandemonium, and then it gets worse. There are 26 kids, in-law kids, and grandkids. We have gifts piled to the ceiling…..just because of the sheer volume of the number of people.
The first year we were married, I had an assembly line hired to wrap for days. Steve looked scared. Then I started to explain the “purse and wallet” drawing that we do. He looked more afraid than ever, and said, “How much money will I need?? ” I assure him that all is well, and proceed with my norm, that wasn’t his norm. Steve bought gift cards as a bachelor. I don’t do gift cards, ever. I buy gifts, and I make sure each grandchild has a large U-Haul moving size box, packed to the rim, with everything from something, to nothing. The point is this. The box is huge, and it’s full!! Granny’s boxes are the best, they ALL say.
Is it about gifts? No. It’s about memories. Like most of you, I want the memory vault that lives in the minds of those 14 grand babies to be full of Granny’s Christmas celebrations. So let’s establish that now. It’s about cousin fun, squeals when they open the boxes, cookies, tearing up jack in the bonus room, and an over night slumber party. That’s what my agenda is. Memories, and more memories, that’s it.
It’s a given that we are Jesus people, and it’s a given hat these babies can quote you verse and book for the reason that we celebrate, but in addition to the reason, JESUS, we celebrate love, and a peaceful happiness, happiness that most of us must fight for. A family that was a text book study in love, not blood. We celebrate choices to love who we love. We celebrate His love, our love for each other, and our love for the world, for that is our greatest gift after salvation. Love.
So, back to Steve. He looked terrified and intrigued at the same time when facing that first Christmas. He was a stranger in a foreign land, but a friendly stranger, trying to learn the language and the culture, if you will.
We play games. I treat my adult kids like children. If I don’t, who will? At Christmas, they are my babies. So I explain and frame this for Steve. They are my passion, my reason to cook, plan, work, in short, they have kept me young and vibrant. I do more, not less. They are the reason. He seems to “get” it. Steve is an auctioneer by training. He doesn’t DO auctions, but he knows how. He chooses not to do them because he doesn’t like to speak in front of crowds.
PRESTO! It’s 2007, and I have dreamed up a new Christmas game. We had an auction after ALL of the other festivities. It was a hit, and now the favorite. Here’s how it works. I give all of the kids the same amount of Monopoly money. Adults, only that is. I buy random, items throughout the year. For instance, Mac make up, bar stools, king size sheets, an iPad, hunting paraphernalia, and on and on. Some items are $10, some are $200 or more. They bid. They don’t know what I have, how many items I have, what’s next….etc. They can see each item as it’s brought up for bids. Other than that, no clue what’s next. Sometimes, the last item comes out, and someone will still have all of their money, waiting for the BIG deal, when in fact there was only one big deal and they missed it. Some years, there are multiple big deals. All in all, it’s competitive, it’s fun, it’s chock full of surprises, and they occasionally fight, and I love that.
So Steve has made the Christmas Auction legendary at our house. It’s his claim to fame amongst this big crazy family that loves big and takes fun to the next level.
Truly, my house is the most fun house in town. All of you come over!!!