Saturday, December 20, 2008

Practice Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I started with my boys is "Practice Christmas." (If you've only missed one year, it can still be a tradition, right?) A few days before Christmas we satisfy our impatient giving and receiving curiosities and we wrap and deliver one small present for each person in the family.

We then go over gift-giving and gift receiving etiquette, because well, this is fun and when I go over the rules on the way to people's houses, the boys know what the hell I am talking about.

After we go through the rules, we act out the scenarios and talk about them. Some years it helps, some years it doesn't. In any case, it's fun to open a present early. And the boys are excited. The rule part of the tradition ends when it becomes tedious and pointless, but I think we will always do an early gift as long as I can get away with it.

Gift-Giving Etiquette:

1) Look at the name tag. (Shit, I forgot this step this year!)
2) Softly hand the present to the person.
3) Let them open the present--do not rip the paper for them.
4) Take two steps back. (After our practice Christmas, I have determined this will be the most difficult for them, so be prepared to get laughing-spit on your face and your feet smooshed by some serious happy-dancing. I have determined this to be the best part for me because I am thrilled to see them so damn excited about someone else besides them getting a gift. So deal with the spittle and the bruised toes.)

Gift-Receiving Etiquette:

1) Wait with you hands in your lap. (Note that I don't care what their feet are doing!)
2) Do not open a present until Mommy and/or Daddy say you can.
3) Look at the name tag. (Shit, I forgot this step this year!)
4) Open the present (no restrictions on that one!).
a) If you do not like the present or you do not know what it is, say "thank you" and set the present down softly. Mommy and daddy will help you. You do not have to lie and say you like the present. Do not say "Thank you. I am not lying. I don't like your present."
b) If you like the present, say "thank you." Do not say "I like your present so much better than so-and-sos."
5) When the crazy people want to take your picture holding a present, do your typical "Christmas Picture" pose. (That is, Bubba looks like a monkey and Mooser looks drunk or is moving.)
6) Do not look around like greedy, disappointed children and ask "Where are the rest of the presents?"
7) Help throw away the paper before you open any boxes (and lose half of the pieces).
8) Give all of the crazy people with the big eye balls and cameras hugs and smile. (OK this one, for the most part I let them choose. I hate when people make the kids be physically affectionate because I hate it myself. I'll mention it, but I usually don't force it unless I think it means we can get the hell outta there faster.)

You may ask why so many "rules"? It's more important to me to set Bubba and Moose up for a pleasant Christmas and good reactions from all the crazy people staring at them as opposed to waiting for them to screw up and then teach 'em what to do (and have all the crazy people telling them how to behave).


Casdok said...

I think a practice christmas is an excellent idea!

Hope you all have the best christmas!!

Mrs. C said...

LEGO sets?? That's a present everyone will like. There's no acting required with the LEGOs!! :]

Stimey said...

Great idea! And your rules are all really good. (And sort of hilarious too.)

Niksmom said...

Excellent! Now if only I could get my husband on board with giving ME an extra present to open early. Nik's not quite into it yet so I'd better show him by example, right? RIGHT???

Anonymous said...

I've spent the better part of the day trying to decide if I am one of the crazy people. Ah, the joys of self-awareness... :-) Aunt E

Ange said...

Ha! I think of us adults staring at the kids trying to suck up the magic of Christmas the best we can through them ... yeah we're all crazy. I was trying to think what we all look like to the boys when they look up from opening a present. And Hubby's mom, she's the crazy camera lady...and she fully admits it! I'm pretty bad myself every now and again.