Sibling presents and other holiday happenings

Last night, after a pageant dress rehearsal, it was time for sibling presents. I started this tradition a few years ago, where the kids all buy presents for each other. They’ve really gotten into it, and I can say after last night that they have gotten a lot better at it. Thinking about what someone else might like — knowing that it might be entirely different from what you like! — is a skill.

Among the wins: A play-doh barista set for the 3-year-old (from the Starbucks loving 16-year-old) that inspired a giant hug; the 51 club games download for the Nintendo Switch from the game-loving 14-year-old to the game-loving 8-year-old, and a decorate-your-own locker kit from the 8-year-old to the 12-year-old. Plus some giant Squishmallows. This is really the Christmas of Squishmallows around here.

(We opened these a few days before Christmas to spread some of the festivities out.)

My holiday shopping is officially done. B (nanny) and I spent about 2 hours yesterday wrapping presents. I had spent about 2 hours wrapping and triaging presents the day before — followed by a trip to Barnes & Noble and to Target, plus a small Amazon order to even things out. But now every kid has the exact same number of presents wrapped under the tree. This involved a little maneuvering (wrapping two similar things together for a kid; separating out something for another) but oh well. I think everyone will be equally happy and given that big kid presents tend to be more expensive than little kid presents it will be OK.

Each kid also has their own wrapping paper. If anyone still needs to purchase wrapping paper, I would recommend looking into Costco’s offerings. They sell a 3-pack of giant rolls. This paper is nice and shiny and thick AND is reversible. So, since I had bought two of these 3-packs back in November, I was able to select from 12 options for 5 kids, ensuring that everyone has something cool looking. My daughter could even choose a different option to wrap the family pajamas (this was her job). Costco also sells a package of gift tags that are cute and whimsical.

Other holiday happenings: on Tuesday night I went to hear my middle schoolers’ band concert. They’re both in the middle school jazz band, and I really enjoy hearing this ensemble play. The high school jazz ensemble is quite good and so I’m hoping they will continue over the next few years and audition for that group.

Tonight is rehearsal for the 8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service (I will be going to three services over the course of the day, as Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year…). The pageant will be so cute. My 3-year-old is going to be a sheep and the sheep were all assigned their own shepherd, so he was just contentedly holding this older kid’s hand the whole time during rehearsal.

Now the food shopping for a bunch of family holiday gatherings needs to commence. I think this will involve another Costco trip….Anyway, I will probably not be blogging all that much over the next week or so. However, I will still be posting at Vanderhacks, the new every-weekday-morning productivity newsletter, so feel free to check that out.

In other news: Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. For any folks who read The Norwegian Secret to Enjoying Winter as part of my Summer Reads book club, today is also the 25th anniversary of the day the (fictional) events of that story all happened. It’s funny to think that Charlie would be a 55-year-old at this point. I wonder what happened to him after that eventful solstice…?

2 thoughts on “Sibling presents and other holiday happenings

  1. I think sibling gift exchanges are awesome! Our school hosts a free bazaar where people donate new or gently used items…and it is AMAZING. They get to look through all sorts of options and pick our presents for their immediate family. We also usually take them shopping to get something for their sibling, too, but I love that it’s not mandatory.

    1. @Elisabeth – that sounds like a great way for kids to be able to pick out presents that they might actually be able to pay for on their own. We gave the kids a spending limit for sibling gifts to keep it in check (since there were 20 gifts exchanged…five kids adds up…).

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