The perfect gift for grandparentsOct 31, 2017 11:53PM ● By Kevin VanGundy
Life is busy, especially around the holidays. But time spent with loved ones is invaluable and tons more enjoyable than fighting crazy Black Friday shoppers.
Stop by Mom and Dad’s house and bring the kids. Let Nana show them how to make her scrumptious holiday cookies, and check out Paw-paw’s latest woodworking project. Take a moment to listen to the stories and traditions from their childhoods. Speaking of traditions...
“The Night Before Christmas” gameOne of my family’s favorite holiday traditions started with my aunt and uncle, Shari and Bill Bird of Fruita. They would host a Christmas party every year, complete with twinkling lights, festive décor, hors d’oeuvres and sweet treats. The highlight of the evening was the reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas") by Clement C. Moore.
It was more than just story time. Everyone sat in a large circle and eagerly awaited the game that would follow. In her invitations, Aunt Shari instructed each guest to bring a wrapped, unmarked gift that cost $20 or less. Donning a Santa hat, Uncle Bill did the honors of distributing the gifts among the participants.
Aunt Shari read Moore’s famous poem aloud. When she read the word “and,” each guest passed their gift to the person on their left. Sounds simple, right? It rarely was—chatter and laughter supervened as guests debated whether or not Aunt Shari said “and” and which way was left. Shenanigans were afoot, as some didn’t want to part with what might be a treasure and went to creative lengths to keep it.
You’d be surprised at how many times the word “and” appears in that poem. The anticipation was exhilarating, as packages came in all shapes and sizes. Once the final line was read—“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”—everyone took great joy in unwrapping the gifts and finding out what was in the more unusual packages.
Some traditional gifts were expected; others were delightful surprises. One year, a lucky player received a bottle of car wax, along with a note from the giver saying that it included labor.
If you decide to adopt this tradition in your own family, here are some tips:
- The more the merrier. The game is perfect for a dozen or more people.
- Let the younger kids have their own circle and ask parents to bring age-appropriate gifts.