Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Why do I feel the need to post not one, but TWO times on Christmas Day? When only two people in the whole world are probably online anyway.

Or, perhaps, there are more than two people out there who, like me, find themselves spending a quiet Christmas at home looking for entertainment in some form other than small children bickering and a house to clean before 16 people descend upon it in less than 24 hours.

If that’s you, well then, Hello.  How was your Christmas?

Mine was lovely, thankyouverymuch.

Except that I ate too much and feel like a stuffed turkey.  But what else is new?  It is the holidays, after all.  Of course, there are people out there who actually go on a 3.5-mile run on Christmas Day and earn their day of gluttony fair and square.  Oh how I desire to be the kind of person who puts daily exercise as high on my priority list as, say, eating.  Or sleeping.  Or, um, blogging.  I am intrigued by such people, but unfortunately not in the way that inspires me to be like them.

How about you?  Did you get outside and burn a few calories today?  Yeah, me either.

While I may never achieve excellence as an athlete, I have discovered that I rock at playing Santa.  I suppose now I have to tell you about my brilliance this Christmas season in pulling off not one but TWO fabulous Christmas surprises.

First I give you Exhibit A: Rock Band.

My husband played the game with some friends on a business trip a few months ago (working hard, or hardly working?) and he said it was a blast.  He didn’t ever actually say he wanted it, but since he already plays the guitar, I figured it would be a fun activity for him and the kids.  I decided to get it and surprise him as well as the kids, but it wasn’t that easy.  No.  I soon found out Rock Band was a hot commodity this Christmas season — sort of like the Zhu Zhu Pet for gamers.

For weeks I called around to no avail, but then last week one of my phone calls paid off.  A local Game Stop had one Rock Band left and agreed to hold it for me if I’d come down right away and purchase it.  True to their word, they had the game waiting for me when I arrived, although they said they had to guard it with their lives because several people tried to buy it before I managed to haul myself out the door and to the mall with my wee one in tow.

My 4-year-old was intrigued with the graphics on the box and kept asking about the “rock stars.”  I was sure she was going to ruin my surprise, but evidently she forgot about the excursion before her siblings got home from school because I never heard another word about it.

I hid the game at a neighbor’s house until yesterday, when I managed to get my husband to take the kids out on last minute errands (and you have NO idea what a feat that was), at which time I drug the box home and hid it behind the couch until this morning when I ran downstairs “to prepare the coffee” and pulled it out and set it in front of the fireplace with the rest of “Santa’s” gifts.

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Score!  When the kids came downstairs to see what “Santa” brought, no one was more surprised by the Rock Band that had suddenly made an appearance than my husband.  As I expected, the whole family can enjoy this game.  And enjoying it is what they’ve been doing.  All. Day. Long.

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And now I introduce Exhibit B: a new guitar for my husband.

He’s been talking about wanting one for well over a year, but he had no idea that I’d saved enough of my blog design earnings to even consider such a gift.  I found the one he wanted online, but several glitches along the way had me worried that it wouldn’t arrive on time.

First the store didn’t like my Paypal debit card, so I had to transfer funds to my bank account, and I worried that my husband would see the purchase.  Then when I tried to have it shipped to a neighbor’s house, the bank didn’t like the discrepancy in addresses, so finally I told them JUST TO SEND IT HERE BECAUSE I HAD TO GET THIS BY CHRISTMAS.

Then I spent the next three days praying that I could intercept it before my husband discovered it and that he wouldn’t have a reason to look at my bank account.  Sure enough, it arrived one day when I was all by myself and I was able to drag it in the house, wrap it, and put it in the corner way back behind the Christmas tree.  Then I quickly wrapped a bunch of other gifts and stacked them in front of it so it wouldn’t attract attention.

It worked like a charm, and it wasn’t until this morning, after all of the presents had been unwrapped, that the kids inquired about the big box behind the tree.

“Oh.  I guess that’s Daddy’s,” I said nonchalantly.

He went to pull it out and about pulled the tree over with it.  He couldn’t believe I’d managed to get that back there and was utterly perplexed as to what could be inside it.

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Knowing I had pulled off the biggest, best surprise yet, I was positively trembling with excitement and anticipation. Then recognition dawned.

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I think he likes it!

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As for me?  Oh I made out pretty well too.  As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one with tricks up my sleeve.  After I went to bed last night, a stocking with my name on it somehow appeared on the couch.  Inside it was a few toiletry items I wanted, and in the toe was a mysterious little black box with a note inside, directing me to look for the contents on the tree.

And this is where I insert one of those jokes about how many family members does it take to locate a sparkly bauble on the Christmas tree?  My kids and I looked for at least five minutes before I spotted that shiny ring slipped onto a tree branch, as if it were a lady’s finger.  Of course I was too excited to think about snapping a picture.

Thinking that was Christmas enough, I was surprised to find several more gifts with my name on them under the tree, including a label maker and a stereo with a docking station for my iPod that I can keep in my office and listen to music whenever I want.

So in one fell swoop, my husband satisfied my incessant need to organize, my obsession with sparkly things, and my love for music.  I thought he’d never top surprising me with the laptop last year, but I’d say this year is pretty much even-steven.

Of course Christmas isn’t all about lavish gifts, but I have to say that nothing is quite as exhilarating as pulling of a fabulous surprise.  I’m quite pleased with myself, can you tell?

But in addition to the gift giving and receiving, there is SO much to be grateful for.  For one thing, this is the first Christmas in a long time that we were all well, and you just can’t put a price tag on health and wellness.  We enjoyed our quiet day together by the a toasty fire with good food and games and laughter, and tomorrow our house will be full as my inlaws join us for our annual holiday family feast.  Which reminds me.  I MUST get to bed.  Tomorrow is going to be a loooooong day.

G’nite!  Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!

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