Started years back when we had the kids out for a Thanksgiving visit.
At that time, we all exchanged the gifts so we wouldn't have to mail them. But we didn't open until Christmas.
Then one year I thought it would be fun to see the looks on the children's faces while they actually opened the gifts, and if we couldn't all be together on Christmas, we'd do it now.
We felt we couldn't actually call it Christmas- there are somethings one doesn't mess with.
But "Thanks-mas", well that defines what we have - our own holiday that's a combination of the two.
Here's what it looks like: they start arriving Wednesday night.
Thursday is the traditional Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Randy does all the cooking (can you believe that!) and the girls do all the clean-up. (Yeah April & Lisa!!) My sister and I (the elders if you will) sit and laugh and visit and really revel in the moment.
Friday (sort of a Christmas Eve if you will..) starts at the "crack of craziness".
Yes, we are among the crazies who get up at 4 am to be shopping by 5 am...and to get in line for the "freebies" - somewhat of a tradition now for us - (run in- grab the freebie - run out and off to the next freebie-giving store - heehee!)
Hey, I got there BEFORE Santa did!
Sometimes we actually shop... Then we gather to show our treasures, unless of course, one of those treasures will be a gift on Thanks-mas Day!
About 9am we call the "sleepers" (those who chose NOT to get up at the crack of craziness ) and we all meet for breakfast.
Back home for a few hours (and a nap!) lunch on left-overs and back out to either Wheeler Farm or Thanksgiving Point or Gardner Village to see all the decorations, drink hot cider, walk, laugh and take tonzzz of photos.
The night usually ends with a group movie, one Hollywood's Christmas releases, or a mega-bowl-a-thon, gifts of just "playing together" from Chris, Gerri's son.
Gift wrapping, giggling, drinking eggnog, spiced cider, some good wine or mugs of hot chocolate round out the night.
Then it's Saturday morning, or "Thanks-mas" morning. Everyone in their PJ's, sitting together, giggles and anticipation of which of those prettily wrapped gifts are theirs.
We hand out gifts, take turns opening, "oh-ing" and "ahh-ing", and nodding with approval that this is indeed the perfect gift for the Receiver. Good job, Giver!
The rest of the day is spent eating left-overs, laughing, telling stories, card games, watching football (sometimes even playing football at our little park) lots of photo taking and of course, naps.
Sunday morning, and the leaving begins. One by one they head for home..and leave behind the memories, and the anticipation that Thanks-mas is only a year away......
As our children get older, each individual family unit has Christmas traditions exclusive to them.
This is the way it should be. The freedom to start activities that they themselves have chosen.
With sharing "Thanks-mas" we all get the joy of the season, watching the looks on every one's faces as they open the gift bought lovingly just for them.
And we, as parents and grandparents, get to hear the squeals of delight, see the children's smiles and have that moment in the here and now, not courtesy of listening on a phone call....
So enjoy the traditions that are just your own. And pass them down to the next generation. And instruct them to pass them along as well.
You never know, one of these days Hallmark with bring out a whole line of "Thanks-mas" cards!!!