I did try to be careful not to crush my son's voices as they grew up as long as they knew I had the final say. I did occasionally ask their opinions but still, they knew my word was final, like it or not. I would have choked that conversation about the bikes. I don't approve. It sounded like bullying or at the least, domination, and why do you need to crush someone to feel better?
Without any desire to count my blessings being bigger or better than anyone, I would like to share some of the finest moments of this Christmas celebration. No one arrived to the home where we had dinner at what you would call, on time. We staggered in as we could get there safely.
We are for the most part, preppers. 90% of us have and the conversation and 65% of us are on board to stock up supplies and stores for at least two years against whatever hard times may come our way. 10% of those gathered have yet to commit to that goal. The rest expect to be taken care of or don't believe anything bad will happen to change their life in any way. They were the ones surprised by the grown up gifts. They didn't understand.
Even though we posted a one store bought gift per child and any made gift for an adult online, the few who believe nothing will ever change, didn't understand the hand making of gifts or the exchange of food. It was posted on Facebook. We talked about it. If you had zero skills and no time to make something, bring a covered dish or some ammo for the host family. When the ammo came out, eyes popped. When the children had ripped open their toys and were happy to play with them, the grown people exchanged gift baskets with marmalade, salsa and jelly and two handmade Christmas ornaments. These were followed with hand sewn apron sets for each couple, homemade extracts of vanilla, lemon and orange. There was vanilla sugar and cinnamon sugar and collages of grandchildren's year in review The hand crafted tabletop decorations and the bottle trees and fire spits were a big hit, too. It was GREAT!
We had a dinner of homemade foods and home baked bread, cookies and vegetables grown on sight. The heavy garlic pesto on fresh beer bread was so good, I had to stop myself and one of the grand boys from making that the main course! There were no sports games blaring on the television, there were no old wounds reopened and re-argued. It was a lovely day with lots of good spirit and long talks. The kiddies provided the most comedy.
I saw bewildered looks on a couple faces and the awkward pause when someone wanted to ask about the crafts but didn't. We let it go quietly. By doing we show who we are, not by preaching. The little ones got their age appropriate toys. The grown ups got what they asked for. They got a piece of someone's heart. They got the time it takes to think of a loved one and be thought about while choosing a gift. they got the time it took to make it.
You can not imagine how pleased I was to see one die hard prepper give his on-the-fence little brother a beginner bug out bag, stocked with items catered to his family. To see the grateful look on the recipients face as he told his brother a recent trip to a theme park ended with two flat tires and two cranky kids and two frustrated parents trying to cope. He told him half the things in that bag would have helped them greatly even in that short term 'disaster'! He will never want for those things or a place to put them, again.
It was the greatest gift for me today, family, fun, food, family, family, family. What did you get?