The presents are unwrapped and the ham consumed, and another Christmas-at-Thanksgiving celebration winds down. Almost ten years ago I was invited to a work Christmas gathering. We were told to bring three wrapped gifts values at less than $5 each. These were put on a table and we rolled dice until they were gone; rolling doubles earned a present. They were then unwrapped and oohed and ahhed over. A timer was set, and the dice rollng re-commenced, this time doubles meant you could steal a gift. It was great fun. I suggested it to my family. I think I meant for it to replace gift giving, but instead it morphed into a supplemental Christmas activity that is now as traditional as the Michigan Rummy or 31 games. At one time we decided on a limit of $20/family, but I don't think anyone's adhered to that in a while. As large as our family is, the gifts cover a dining table with a card table pushed up to it. There's quality merchandise, white elephants, and schwag from the various corporate employers about the table. Each year the kids' selection gets a little better as they grow old enough to participate. There's screaming, mayhem, greed and excess: all the necessary elements of a successful Christmas. Generally, a select few items get snatched from one end of the table to the other, and there's a bit of horse trading at the end of the game to find homes for stuff you don't want, and foist stuff off on whoever got skunked. This year we filled a small box for the tree of hope charity. It's nice that someone else can benefit from our craziness this year. And I got a fire starter!
Off to bed; tomorrow we pack the troops into the car and head back to work and school. Tough to go back after such a nice long weekend. Hope your holiday held as much laughter as ours did.