2010-12-25 Vincent Family Christmas

This year's Christmas was quite different for us.  We felt like the true spirit of Christmas had been lost.  It's become too commercialized.  We decided not to give gifts to any of our children, or over-18 grandchildren, or our out-of-state grandchildren.

Instead, we found two people from our church who could use the money much more.  We gave the money we would have spent on ourselves and our family to them.  Before passing out gifts to our youngest grandchildren who attended our party this year, we explained this to everyone.

I think our family Christmas was better this year.  Judge for yourself.

Linda worked for days preparing the spread of food.  She thought finger foods would be best.  So there was ham and turkey for sandwiches plus all the extras.  My daughters brought deserts, drinks, and plastic ware.

Some ran for cover when we began to take photos.

Some hid their faces, and some were hams for the camera.

And there were some we simply caught by surprise.

After we had offered our Christmas prayer on the food the drinks were first under attack.

Some waited to assist the smaller ones ...

Then the food was quickly sampled.

Those Florida naval oranges were really popular with the kiddies.

After the meal we had the little kids gather on the living room floor while Pa Bean read the story from Luke 2.

The kids listened while I read and all joined in as I asked them questions about what happened at the birth of Christ.  I told them how the shepherds who tended their sheep were the same shepherds who managed the temple flock used for the symbolic sacrifices.  The sacrificial lamb foreshadowed our Lord's sacrifice for us, that greatest of all Christmas gifts.

Gamma helped me tell the "rest of the story" so those who didn't receive a physical gift would know a gift was given this year in their behalf.  One of the needy recipients was Andrea's sister whose little boy has eye cancer.  Andrea gave us a report.

That's Andrea on the left in front of the TV sitting with Adam, her husband.  After the story was over the little kids were eager for us to hand out gifts.

Some had requested money so we gave them decorative envelopes with cash inside.

Some seemed to enjoy the wrapping more than what was inside.

"It's a toy, dahling!"

My grandson was really surprised at his gift.

He loves knives.  So, with his parents permission, I got him a genuine Bowie knife.  Remember Crocodile Dundee, " 'At's not a noife.  'ISS is a noife!

The little girls got little girlie things...

And the little boys got guy things.

My oldest grandson has become quite a good guitar player.

With help from a dear friend in Memphis who is quite a good luthier, Joseph got a guitar I've cherished for several years.  My friend painted it with custom green paint for me (my favorite color).  Rather than wait 'til I died for Joseph to receive it, I "bequeathed it" to him early.

I mailed the certificate of authenticity to my friend who signed and returned it.  My grandson smiled with appreciation.  He's the only grandchild I have who has been really dedicated at learning to play the guitar.

After a short break we had a small gift exchange party for the adults.  This wasn't a real gift exchange but rather a fun gift exchange we call "Dirty Santa."

The way it works, everyone who wants to participate brings an inexpensive gift or something useful they have laying around the house.  The youngest person in the room chooses a gift from under the tree, unwraps it, and shows it to everyone.

The next youngest then chooses a gift and so on around the room until the oldest chooses last.  Each person unwraps their gift.  If they like what someone else got more, they get to play "Dirty Santa" and swap gifts with them.

Needless to say, if someone gets something really nice, all the others hold up their gifts saying, "Trade with me, trade with me!"

My granddaughter got finger lights and became "The Light Girl."

Later, two of my daughters performed for us by singing as they touched their nose, their hair, and their arms, "Everyone NOSE about HAIRy.  He just got back from the ARMy."  I wanted to share the video with you on YouTube or Facebook but they swore they'd never speak to me again if I did.  Hahaha.

This last photo shows how many in the family have an interest in playing the guitar.  We enjoyed a little pickin' and grinnin' in our guest room before everyone left for home.

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