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Christmas After-Action Report

I can't let the year end without reporting on how my Christmas went.

I love Christmas. Elle said I am one of the few people who actually likes Christmas. I actually like the material aspects of Christmas. Buying presents for people is fun, and getting presents from people is fun. My sister has told me I am a fun person to give presents to. I hope she is right about that...that's a very useful quality to have.

Christmas was celebrated at my sister-in law's parents house in Charlotte. I call my sister-in-law's  family my ILORs (for in-laws once removed). It's the first holiday in a while my family has celebrated in Charlotte since my bro moved to Asheville.

Even though I like to buy presents, I've gotten in the habit of buying gift cards for my siblings and sister-in-law. To make up for the lack of imagination in shopping, the gift cards for my sister and brother and his wife were respectively put inside Christmas cards for a son, granddaughter, and grandson. It sounds lame, but they actually laughed. That was gratifying.

I think I did pretty well in picking gifts for my niece Andi and nephew Barney. Andi was a lot harder, since she recently turned 10 and I can't buy little girl gifts for her anymore. Barney, a 6 year-old-boy, is really easy. I just find something I would like to have but would be too embarrassed to buy for myself, and buy it for him.

I ended up getting Andi a couple of books (a Calvin and Hobbes book and The Phantom Tollbooth) and a jigsaw puzzle. As many predicted, she loved the Calvin and Hobbes book. (A shout out here to her mom for suggesting it.) The Phantom Tollbooth was kind of a crapshoot, but I remember reading it and enjoying it myself when I was about her age. Later that day, my sister told me she read it when she was Andi's age on my suggestion. I had forgotten about that.

Barney got cars and robots that made cool noises. One was a speed racer car that talked and made vroom noises whenever it was shaken. This resulted in it occasionally making noises under the tree before it was unwrapped.

My sister, as usual, was waaaaay too generous. Not that I mind. She got me books by Ludwig Von Mises, Albert Jay Nock, Adam Smith, and Henry Hazlitt. My  sister-in-law's father must have thought this was a pretty hi-fallutin' mix and remarked "Gee, don't you ever ask for pornography or anything?". A truly memorable holiday quote. (It's even funnier if you know him...he is generally a very serious and reserved man.)

For Christmas dinner we had Paella, a non-traditional but yummy dish that whose name I would have never have learned how to spell if I hadn't made this post.

At one point in the day I held something up (I forget what, but I think it was a box of altoids) and let it drop to the floor. I explained to everyone that the demonstration of gravity was in honor of Isaac Newton, whose birthday it was.

I went back the next day to spend the day with them. We went to the park and later played Apples to Apples and Bananagrams. Apples to Apples is a game where everybody has cards with noun phrases that they try to match to a card on the table that has an adjective on it.Everyone takes turns being a judge who decides which noun matches best. At one point I put down "driving off a cliff" for the adjective "ordinary" while my niece was the judge. She actually picked that, and said she knew I was the one who put it down. That was sweet, even though I was trying to throw the game.

It was great spending time with the family, and I had a wonderful Christmas and Boxing Day. God bless us, every one.