January 01, 2010

Christmas Day - Part 2

I lured Jay out of bed with the promise of breakfast – corn pops and reheated wassail made by my mother. We had to get our Christmas morning rolling if we were going to make it to my grandmother’s by 11 for brunch.

We had set a $50 limit on gifts ($10 for stockings) and we both had a challenge staying within the limit. Realistically, that only gets you two gifts, so we got creative. I had purchased Jay a book he’d asked for and a pair of binoculars. While I was shopping with some friends of mine for an under privileged family, I found a pair of pants on sale dirt cheap (under $10) at Old Navy.

As I said before, Jay desperately needs non-old man pants, so I went ahead and got them even though I was over the limit. I would have bought them if it was April and there wasn’t a holiday. I figured this way he’d have something extra on the tree.

For my “free” gift – I printed out 10 business sized coupons and wrapped them. Some of them are romantic – like a trip to Big Rock (a romantic secluded river overlook in the National Park). Some are more fun – like the pioneer date (where we have to go the entire night not using electricity). The rest are just chore type things that let him off the hook.

I had already found my SPI belt (small personal items belt – for running) when I got the mail the day it arrived. My other two gifts from Jay were a gorgeous wooden recipe box and probably about 30 pressed pennies. I collect them on vacation because they are a cheap/easy to store way of bringing a memory home with me. He had taken and entire Saturday afternoon going up and down the streets of Pigeon Forge getting me pressed pennies.

I also had a note under the tree telling me to go into the garage and look at my table. My sewing table was a project he’d started last year – I had purchased it at the Salvation Army for $20. It was covered in ugly paint and chewing gum. Unfortunately, I don’t have any before pictures – but he striped it down completely, found a beautiful wood inlay, and refinished it. I’ve already got a spot picked out for it in the farm house.

“Test the handle to make sure I’ve got it back on right.”

I pulled on the drawer and found a couple pieces of paper clipped together.

101 Things I love about Brooke Middle Maiden Last.

He’d stayed up on Christmas Eve compiling the list. He’d only made it to #50, but I had a note promising me that he’d observe me for the next year and would give me the rest of the list for Christmas 2010. By the end of the morning he’d already hand written in numbers 51- 54.

After checking our stockings, we decide to make an agreement for future Christmases. We’d spent less than $100 on each other – and had a wonderful morning. We decided that hence forward we will have a $100 or less limit (stockings included) on one another. Subject to change due to inflation. We also decided to keep the one free gift idea.

Then it was on to my grandparent’s house for brunch. This was our first year not having a big lunch, and it took a load off my grandmother. As my grandparents age (he’s 77, she’s 74) our traditions are changing. It makes me sad, but I understand why it has to happen that way.

My sister had decided that she wanted her kids to spend Christmas at their house all day – and not e dragged away before they’d had a chance to enjoy themselves. So after brunch, my parents, Jay & I headed north towards my sister’s house. She lives about 2 hours away, and while we normally car pool, Jay had to work the day after Christmas so we drove separately.

My niece loves me and never has a problem letting everyone know. Whenever she sees me she takes off running toward me and jumps in my arms. My nephew is a different story. He likes my mom & dad better than me, and sometimes he likes Jay better than me. So it was wonderful to see him on the stairs dancing with happiness when he saw me round the corner.

We did presents first, and my niece (who’s 5) wanted everyone to open their gifts from her first. For the past few years, she’s had her mom take her to the dollar tree and pick out gifts for everyone. Adding her name to the gift tag from her parents just isn’t good enough.

This year Jay and I each received a Christmas coffee mug as well as dream catchers. My sister had given me a IPod Shuffle before my half marathon as an early Christmas gift, but she went ahead and got me another gift to open. (She officially went over the $15 gift limit.)

I got a cute pair of leggings and a soft white undershirt from them. Jay got a new pair of corduroy pants and a pair of flannel pj pants.

Then it was time for dinner.

No one touched my pineapple looks like crap cake.

Of course I don’t blame them – my sister made a gorgeous apple pie.

I had forgotten that mac & cheese was on my list until right before dinner was served. I had left the box out in my car (Shells & Cheese thank you very much) and offered to go out and get it. Since there was an abundance of other food, they said that mac & cheese wasn’t necessary.

After dinner we had some wine and played with the Princess and Little Man’s new WII. My alcohol fueled bowling streak continued - I got 5 strikes in a row. My WII bowling score was 211.

I was sad when Jay had to go home the next morning (after we bought out Target getting Christmas decorations for the farm house), but I stayed behind because the princess was the half time show at a basketball tourney the night of the 26th.

I only wish I could post pictures of the dance – she was a natural!

By now I’ve probably read about most of your Christmases on your blogs – I hope it was as wonderful and bless as mine was!


  1. Who knew that Jay was such a romantic. What a great gift!

  2. I love your gift ideas! Tell Jay that all the other husbands are going to be upset with him after their wives read this!

  3. What a sweet husband! And nieces are so much fun...mine just turn me into a puddle of sap, I love 'em so much! Sounds like an awesome Christmas.

  4. wow. i REALLY love how creative you both were with your gifts and how you didn't spend too much doing it! they were so much more meaningful that way! (and the list, my god the list! how amazing!)

    sounds like you had a wonderful christmas!!

  5. That sounds like a wonderful Christmas, Brooke. I love the idea of setting a limit and of doing the "free" gift.


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