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Christmas Lists

In my family we have many traditions involving Christmas. One of these is that the "Official Christmas List" is due to Mom and Dad by Thanksgiving. At least one of us fails to do this every year, and so far the threat of no presents has yet to be acted upon. Thank goodness. When we were very young, my parents would send the list off to the North Pole for us (I really hope they kept some, I'd love to read them now). When we got older, they were hung in the kitchen somewhere so we would know what to get each other. Then one year we had the infamous "camera incident" and the basic list plan didn't really work as well. Now we have to check and double check with each other to make sure no one gets someone something that the other people already got them. I know this whole process seems to take the fun out of giving gifts at Christmas, but when you consider that people notoriously ask for things like kitchen appliances, deoderant, scissors, and/or cleaning supplies, the fun wasn't really there to begin with.

I'm just kidding about the fun, because we always give and receive marvelous presents underneath the Benson family Christmas tree, and I doubt this year will be any different. Due to the unusual distance between the family this year (France, Florida, Colorado, and North Carolina), Mom created a master list and sent it out via email. For the past few days there have been banterings, descriptions of listed items (color, size, purchase order number, etc), and additions to the list. Additions have traditionally been a no-no unless you didn't have enough stuff on your list that everyone could get you something. Anyway, I have found it really amusing. Especially when my brother accused my mother (jokingly) of being "greety." I think we all know what he was getting at, but I kind of like the modified adjective as well. (We must excuse his spelling right now though, because exams do sap every last brain cell dry.)

All this talk about it has made me really think about the gifts we give. I can remember shopping for Christmas presents when I was younger at this sale they had in the school - it is so weird looking back - and being given a certain amount of money, say $10, to buy everyone a present. Now we certainly spend more (not all inflation's fault) and we almost always get exactly what was on our lists. Each person always has a surprise present of course, and I know we still give out of love for each other.... I guess the Santa Claus magic is starting to wear away a little. But, I know that even if I didn't send in a list, my family would know pretty much exactly what to get me. The same way I am bound to get them each something they'll at least pretend to like that isn't actually on their lists. I think that shows the strength and love we have for each other. And the fact that we still follow traditions that were invented when all of us (25, 22, and 21 now) still believed in the jolly old guy with reindeer is amazing.

It makes me a little sad that we won't all be together this year, but in a way, we will be. We still have each other, we'll talk on the phone and use speakerphone when opening presents with Lorien and Bobby, and everyone will go to bed on the 24th in new warm and snuggly pajamas. Some people want a white Christmas. Others want someone for Christmas. All I want for Christmas is that our whole family is happy and the promise that some year soon we'll all sit under the same Christmas tree again. And even if all Dad asks for is deoderant and undershirts, that we always know exactly what to get each other. No lists necessary. Love always, ~Heather