The other day my wife and I needed to run a few errands. In travelling from store to store, we couldn’t help noticing that many stores are already decorating for Christmas. We were enjoying the many Halloween decorations, but Christmas? It’s like this time of year has turned into the “Hallow-giving-mas” season.
We have a large immediate family and are fortunate enough to live relatively close. We are able to get together to celebrate each of the holidays as a group. Everyone is not always there, but it’s always a large group. In this last quarter of the year we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One of our daughters does a major Halloween celebration and invites the family. These holidays are for kids and we have 13 grandkids. They may not all be there but more often than not 11 of the 13 are there. All the kids, maybe not all the teenagers, get in costume and go Trick or Treating in the neighborhood. Our daughter and her husband prepare corn chowder for the family, served in Pumpkin Bowls which they hollow out. It’s a lot of work but they have fun. Now they have added, starting last year, converting their garage into a haunted house. The kids participate in setting it up and man certain areas to scare visitors. Word spread around the neighborhood and last year there was a great turn out of kids with their parents. You even needed to get a ticket. Free, of course. All the kids love it.
The same daughter does a major Thanksgiving celebration and dinner. Everyone in the family is invited and this year I think they will all be there. It’s a big party and they have to cook 2 large turkeys. The kids get together with their cousins and that’s what we want. With 11 or 13 kids it can be somewhat of a madhouse, but it’s family fun and we all watch out that no one gets hurt.
Finally we come to Christmas. Christmas is always at our house and again most years the whole family comes. 13 grandkids ranging in age from 2 to 14 is quite a load. My wife likes to give the kids real presents and not just money, so you can imagine there is a lot of shopping involved. Thank God for the internet, although my wife loves the malls at Christmas time and even enjoys the crowds. However, she doesn’t like the traffic to get to the stores. Anyway, with all these grandkids the Christmas season becomes very expensive . By the time our shopping is finished, our front bedroom looks like a section of ToysRUs!!
We love our grandkids and are fortunate that they live close enough that we can see them often. They are the love of our lives and we enjoy spending time with them. We play games and watch movies when they are with us. We have also enjoyed trips to Santa Cruz, Lego Land, Monster Jam and Lake Tahoe. Some of these encompass more than 1 day, and if we are not in a hotel, there is a sleepover at our house. The kids love sleepovers at our house. Grandma spoils them. A few years ago we went just north of Sacramento so four of them could enjoy White Water Rafting on the American River. We must have 150 pictures (I bought all the CD’s) of the kids laughing while getting soaked. You should see the petrified look on Grandma’s face. We all went on the raft with the guide. It was a huge hit and Grandma didn’t want to miss it. She’s a great sport. Bowling, ice skating and going to the movies are a few more favorites. Everyone enjoys eating out and staying in hotels. Fast food may be O.K. but part of our job is to expose them to real restaurants and how to behave. My wife and I feel these getaways give us a chance to share new experiences and really get to know our grandchildren on an individual basis. It must be obvious that we can’t take all the kids at the same time. They all don’t want to do the same things.
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