Posts tagged Presents

Spend the Holidays with the Wonderfuls

The holidays at the Ranchero are a patchwork of gatherings that extend to New Year’s Eve. We start early – Chloë arrives on December 23rd (if it isn’t already our week) and Santa comes that night.

I like to draw out the excitement of opening presents, so we usually open up a couple that evening. I used to love that as a kid – they sat under the tree, beckoning us for what seemed like weeks. It seemed a little like cheating, but opening those one or two early gifts was one of the most exciting parts. I remember laying under the tree, inhaling that lovely pine scent, wondering what could possibly be in those beautifully wrapped packages. My mom was a perfectionist when it came to wrapping – everything coordinated, had just the right amount of sparkle, the wrap was on straight. I inherited that tradition and take some amount of pride in perfectly wrapping the perfect present.


While everyone was sleeping, Santa had a few glasses of wine, I mean cookies and soy milk, while laying out the gifts. Santa is a smart dude – he knew that Chloë wanted Polly Pockets, so he watched and waited on e-bay for just the right discontinued playsets, as the selection at Target was not what he had in mind. He knew that Rex-Goliath would love a train set, so he brought one of those and expertly assembled it while posting on Facebook about how ridiculous the directions were. It was convenient for Santa that one of the items that Rex-Goliath opened on Christmas Eve Eve was a playboard for setting up train track configurations, decoupaged by Mama. Santa filled the stockings, with everyone’s favorite critters poking their heads out of the stockings. Santa loves it when things match, so he was particularly excited that Xavier’s wee elephant coordinated with his elephant-print sleeper.


The old man left some tracks on our balcony, but with the snow falling as rapidly as it was, they were completely obscured by morning.


Rex-Goliath was the first up, and he did not quite know what to make of things. He is still a bit too young to fully grasp the mythology of Santa. This train set was basically his dream come true, transported to his very own living room. He seemed almost in disbelief at first. But he rallied, lining up his trains on the tracks and then smashing up the landscape.


It was Xavier’s first Christmas – good thing his siblings were around to assist with his loot.

After discovering Santa’s gifts and opening up our presents under the tree, we attended the Schmitt family Christmas at Dan’s Aunt Kris and Uncle Chad’s house. The kids opened gifts and the adults played Dirty Bingo (aka the Dice Game) for gifts. Somehow a couple of Snuggies made their way into the mix, and Dan’s cousin Shauna and I spent the whole game conspiring to keep possession of our respective Blankets with Sleeves.


Upon returning home, we had a brief impromptu visit with Dan’s sister Kesah and his mom. Dan made pizza, we drank prosecco and chatted. Chloë was at her mom’s at this point and Rex-Goliath was asleep, but Xavier was the life of the party, cooing and smiling for his Auntie.


On Christmas Day, we picked up Chloë and headed up to North Branch to visit my dad, stepmom, and brothers. It was a low-key day, but enjoyable. My littlest brother Bryce received a video game that Chloë has been coveting, so the two of them spent the holiday with the Mario Bros.


The day after Christmas, Grandma Vicky and Auntie Kesah returned for an evening of tempura, potstickers, and presents.


Auntie played a round of Polly Pockets with the kids, brought a gift of a digital camera, and some Thomas jammies for Rex-Goliath.

Grandma Vicky and Tate gave Princess Pug some much needed attention, and did not hold a grudge when Puggy relieved herself on the couch. She also, of course, made goo-goo eyes at the baby.

All in all, a quality evening.

Our last holiday event consisted of a trip down to Warren and Deb’s house in Elysian, MN (Warren is Kesah’s dad). We love visiting them – there is always something fun to do for the kids and great food and conversation for the adults.


Warren and Xavier, just hanging out.


We all opened presents – Deb always has the most thoughtful stocking stuffers. She loves gifting like I love gifting.

Deb bought dress-up clothes from the thrift store in anticipation of our visit – here are a few shots of the kids playing:

Xavier was able to join in the fun with a pint-sized Santa hat:

My last picture – Dan immediately after hurling the Christmas tree over the balcony (which was immediately after spilling tree water all over Rex-Goliath’s train playboard, which was immediately following by a string of curse words from Dan and a glaring look from me over the potential undoing of hours of mod podging). Although one would think that he would appear elated in this picture, as the holidays were over, he is not, because he knew that he only had vacuuming up pine needles with a one-wheeled vacuum (thank you, Rex-Goliath) to look forward to.

This appears to be the end of gleeful holiday posts. Stay tuned for exciting mid-winter in Minnesota posts demonstrating just how batshit crazy we all get when the days are this short: The Wonderfuls Do Their Taxes, Leah Scolds Dan for buying the Downy Orchid Allure Dryer Sheets Instead of the Fabric Softener, and possibly Princess Pug Goes to the Vet But Dan Says “No” to Having Her Reeking Teeth Cleaned Once Again.

–Mrs. Wonderful

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