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Just a Thought — Christmas over but, hopefully, joy of holiday can last all year

Just a Thought — Christmas over but, hopefully, joy of holiday can last all year

Posted: Friday, December 26, 2008 7:56 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

 Christmas Day has come and gone. The presents have all been opened and the floor under the tree is bare. The family, 20 of us, crammed into our little three-bedroom house for a Christmas Eve meal. Thanks to a borrowed table and chairs from Community Church of Christ, where my family attends, we all had a place to sit down for the ham meal. Christmas this year reminds me of those in the past when we would all travel to Wynnburg for Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandma Cole’s house. Everyone would bring a dish, as they do now, and Grandmother would provide the meat and other dishes. I remember a dish my Aunt Ann made with sour cream and lemon and lime Jell-O™. It was something I looked forward to every year before I developed an allergy to all things dairy. We children would fill our plates and take them to the living room, with the first ones getting the coveted places at the coffee table. The others had to sit with their plates in their laps. All the adults got to sit in the kitchen at the “big table,” some of them having to sit on the piano bench because there were not enough chairs. When all bellies were full, we’d gather around the Christmas tree and sing a carol or two before opening the gifts which had been so carefully wrapped and placed there in waiting. As the presents were opened, pictures would be made of the recipients with their gifts. I remember a picture of my great-grandmother Viola with a pair of Wonder Woman underwear. We all thought that was so funny. I can also remember that as we got older and were able to get an allowance, though small at only a quarter a week, we would purchase gifts for each other. They were always small and mostly things we could use, like toothbrushes or combs. It always made me feel good that I could give my sisters and my extended family something I had paid for myself. My children, without any prompting, decided to do the same thing this year. At 8 and 11, they don’t have jobs and they don’t get an allowance, but they do have the money they earn at the Obion County Fair each year. When they informed me of their plan, we headed down to the local dollar store for them to pick out and purchase their gifts.They were so proud that they were able to give each other and their cousins gifts that their mother hadn’t paid for. I had to chuckle on Christmas night when Jon and Matt opened their gifts from each other and, with pleased looks, shook hands. A big hit under our tree this year were Backugan. I hadn’t heard about them before last year when the eldest son spotted them in a local store. The Associated Press has recently reported that the Bakugan Battle Brawlers are a “hot item” this year and that many stores, including the Toys “R” Us in Times Square, are having trouble keeping them on the shelf. My husband’s sisters found the same problem in Nashville, where the shelves were empty. Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh told the AP that Bakugan “qualifies as the hardest-to-find toy of the holiday season.” They’re not hard to find in my house. They’re on the coffee table, in the chairs, under the sofa and in and under the beds. I think they each got about 10 of them this Christmas alone. They had also earlier in the year asked for them for their birthdays. The hot toy was first launched by Spin Master in Japan in 2006. It combines magnetic playing cards and collectible marble-like objects that click open into action figures when they roll over the cards. A Bakugan cartoon also is shown on Cartoon Network and the AP reports that last week Universal Pictures agreed to create a feature film based on the Bakugan game and series. I forsee a trip to the movie theatre in the future. Also a hot item in our household this year were WebKinz toys. My mother-in-law purchased my sons and my twin’s daughters LilKinz. They each had to hold onto their bags and wait for everyone to get their gift before opening them. The squeals that came from the four of them could have raised the rooftop and popped a few ear drums. I think most everyone was surprised by the joy they showed and I think it even made my father give out a little laugh. Our children recently discovered the stuffed animals when one of the girls received a stuffed frog as a birthday gift. They all four would gather around my sister’s computer to take turns playing the online game. This past summer my sister gave the boys a WebKinz dog as an opening night gift when they played Oompa Loompas in the Masquerade Theatre production of “Willy Wonka Jr.” They enjoy going online and playing games against each other. I cannot tell a lie, I also enjoy the games and sometimes think I may like them even more than my children. Thursday morning, before most of the family came back for Christmas lunch, my oldest son and I played an online game of Connect4. I thought I had him outsmarted, but I was the one who was tricked with him beating me. So while Christmas Day may be over, here is hope that the joy it brings lasts all the year through. Merry Christmas — yes, I said it — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Mrs. Ryder may be contacted at dryder@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 12.26.08

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