These days, Practical gifts are the order of the day, if that day is Christmas. As I mentioned here, I have a tradition of picking up a little somethin'-somethin' for me.
I also prowl the aisles at Walgreen's(Open till 4:30 PM Christmas day!) looking for the strange and interesting, and Cherry Mashes for my Mom.
My family tends to go either very big or very spartan, depending on the year. Now, by Spartan, I don't mean they get really cut abs and start kicking Persian emissaries. that would be madness, madness, I say.
I related the story of the last Christmas we really got toys. Dad decided he wanted his boys to have the Transformers toys I loved. So for my dreams, I pick that one toy I have had my eye on and order it to arrive right about the right time-frame for Christmas. It calls back to me the days of the Penney's catalog, or the Montgomery Ward's or Sears & Roebuck. Looking at those things and trying to pick...one.
This year the Christmas reality got unusual. My middle sister proposed we each buy one gift, around $20, and draw numbers. (with you so far) and the the gift could be stolen, twice, by a later number(and we'll be cleaning the blood off the walls for months!)
It actually turned out OK. I was number one, I chose a nice copper insulated mug, that got stolen by my niece, and ended up with another nice insulated mug at the end. where it got weird was when my brother in law chose the tangerine thong.
He pulled this out of the box, his expression went from "this can't be what I think..." to "whoa, wrong box" until my nephew showed him the real gift, a yeti mug (yep, lotta mugs.) I put an RC Stingray in the pile, and my nephew's wife ended up with it, which turned out nicely. They have a young son.
I think the reality of Christmas beats the dreams. A few years ago I started to really enjoy the giving aspect of Christmas... the choosing of personal gifts, or putting together a craft project. I still did that, despite the exchange my sister suggested, and I think my choices were appreciated. The dream was the waiting, the hoping, and the finding out whether it's transformers or socks. The new dream, for me, is the anticipation of seeing their faces as they open what I chose for them, and it generally matches the reality on the day itself.
My fellow participants