So Christmas is over.
We had a nice day once again, of course. One tradition that we have been doing as a family for quite a few years now is having Christmas crackers with our Christmas meal. We became friends with a family from England about 10 years ago or so, and it became an annual tradition to phone each other on Christmas day. On probably our first of these phone calls, they mentioned that they were wearing their crowns.
Your crowns?? we questioned. And then came the explanation of Christmas crackers, which we had never heard of before, and they couldn't believe everyone in the world didn't know about and do.
Since then we've occasionally seen them in a store, but our Christmas crackers are authentic, sent straight from England by this family. In recent years, he has somehow managed to open the crackers and insert a nicer toy inside for Little Girl, and now Baby Boy, without ruining the cracker. Little stuffed animals and things like that.
Well, for some reason, the mail seems awfully slow this year for everything. And after the mail came on Christmas Eve, we were still cracker-less.
During Communion (prompted by the eating of the cracker), Little Girl whispered to me, "Are we going to have those other crackers this year that we don't eat, the ones that pop and have a prize inside?" I had to tell her no, they didn't come in time, but when they came we would open them. She was very disappointed, and my grandmother was very disappointed as well when she too asked about them, and was given the news.
My mom had her annual Christmas phone call to England yesterday morning, and they too were disappointed to learn that the crackers didn't arrive in time.
We were due to eat at noon, and at 11:30, I heard a car drive down the driveway and a door slam. I went to the door, expecting to see Little Girl and her family, and lo and behold, who did I see but
Old Saint Nick the mailman delivering our Christmas crackers! As it was just sent regular mail weeks ago, not overnighted or anything, I can't believe he came out on Christmas day to deliver our crackers, but we're very glad he did. How surprised everyone was to come in and find them sitting by their plates!
However, our British friend didn't make a special cracker for Little Girl and Baby Boy this year, and instead, just enclosed a couple of sheets of Christmas stickers for them. So when Little Girl opened her cracker and found a keychain, she was greatly disappointed.
"How about we open yours?" she suggests to her mommy, and was again disappointed to find a pair of tweezers. Moving on to her stepdaddy, she says, "I'll trade you a sticker for what's in your cracker." But when she discovered another pair of tweezers, she quickly said, "No, I don't want to trade," and moved on to Grandpa. Grandpa had some tiny dice, but she didn't even want those. Grandma had the best prize, but we didn't know it, it was a "fortune telling fish", but it just looked like a fish cut out of plastic wrap, so it was set aside quickly as junk. And at last to Mammaw, her great-grandmother, she went. And Mammaw had a little purple glittery pen! Little Girl was finally satisfied, and Mammaw agreed to the "trade". :)
Also in each cracker is a paper crown and a joke. The jokes are very very bad. Maybe they aren't bad if you have a British sense of humor, but... here in America, they are very bad jokes. But that's okay, because we laugh about how lame they are. :)
The fortune telling fish, once we paid closer attention to it, was a big hit. You lay this fish on the palm of your hand and it does things -- moves its head or tail, curls up, flips over. And the accompanying guide tells you what each of those things means. Little Girl was passionate. And indeed she is. About everything.
We spent the afternoon at my grandmother's, visiting with extended family. My cousin is recently married with a stepdaughter. My aunt, the little girl's new step-grandmother, bought her an American Girl doll, and she said the child just sobbed and said it was the very best Christmas she's ever had. Her mother and her mother's family gave her nothing. Her father's family gave her nothing. This little girl has never gotten anything for Christmas before, other than what her father could manage to scrape together for her, and now all of a sudden she's showered with gifts from her new grandparents. It's sad to think about, and yet happy because now she's cared for and loved. :)
And now, I must admit to being somewhat glad that Christmas is over, because now I can actually run into a store to get something and be out in a couple minutes instead of waiting in ridiculous lines for my one little thing I needed, and hopefully the crazy traffic will die down, as well. They may say we're in a recession, but I don't think folks around here have gotten the word yet, because you haven't been able to get anywhere near the mall or the shopping centers for weeks now. If that's a recession, I don't think we have a whole lot to worry about...