Although we had overslept, we were not the last ones to arrive. Terry and his twin boys were already there, but Jared and Erin were still en route. Val bustled around making food, so we ate bacon and waffles and sausage until we were nearly bursting. Meanwhile, hyped up on sugar and excitement, Arlo and Liam raced around the house playing laser tag with the brand-new guns Santa gave them. They kept pestering us to play with them, but they didn't yet understand the concept of hiding before shooting. So if you agreed to play, you'd just have two kids standing six inches from you with their guns jammed up against the laser sensor strapped to your chest. Not exactly fun. I declined.
As far as the kids were concerned, the entire purpose of Christmas was to give them presents, and to give them frequently. I suppose it's inevitable. If you spend Christmas Eve getting presents from one side of your family, and then Santa delivers gifts to not one but TWO homes, and after that you go to spend Christmas day with the other half of your family, the only connecting holiday thread is the incredible present cornucopia that never stops giving. No one else seemed bothered by their attitude, shrugging it off as normal behavior or excusing it as mere holiday excitement, but I was really surprised by their ingratitude and rudeness. I can't imagine my parents would have tolerated us demanding gifts and telling adults that they shouldn't have presents because they're not kids.
Anyway, their behavior aside it was a pleasant afternoon. Although the adult children had decided to do a Secret Santa exchange instead of full presents for everyone, it still felt like we got a mountain of gifts.
Mama and Papa Buckley got several items off of my wishlist, including a FitBit One, a gift certificate to a local yoga studio, and a taiyaki maker. All of the adult kids each got an ancestry.com DNA kits and a Christmas ornament. (Although she unfortunately picked a Peanuts ornament for me...I am not a fan of Charlie Brown & co. but the intent was well-meant.) One unusual gift was The Comic Book Story of Beer - it's a really cool book and I was delighted to get it, but I have no idea where she got the inspiration.
My Secret Santa was Terry, and he picked out an electric blanket made with faux fur for extra warmth. I guess Seanie mentioned that I'm always cold. It's super cozy. He also said he'd put money towards the yoga studio but he hadn't had a chance to get it before Christmas. Pretty cool!
Seanie got a lot of cool presents. The biggest surprise was a drone from his mother, who proudly proclaimed that it "wasn't on the list". Kero's husband has been playing with his drone a lot lately, posting pictures and videos online, and I know Seanie's been itching to have one of his own, so it was a great choice. He also got a DVD box set of the entire Red Dwarf series from his Secret Santa and the new Final Fantasy XV video game.
Did we give as good as we got? I'm not sure. Honestly, I'm not even sure what we got Mama Buckley. We all teamed up to buy her some sort of cow-catcher training thing for her horses. I think it's equipment? Or decoration? All I know is Seanie organized it and a specialist has to fabricate and install it in the dirt arena where she rides, so there wasn't a physical gift under the tree.
We gave Seanie's dad the complete Star Trek: The Next Generation series on DVD so he can watch it while he's up at the duck blind. In fact, we gave him explicit instructions that he couldn't watch the DVDs at home, because it would drive Mama Buckley insane.
My Secret Santa gift was to Erin, so I got her a book that I thought she'd like and Cards Against Humanity because she likes to have parties and it would suit her friends well. Since she loves music I also got her an iTunes gift certificate. It was hard to shop for her because everything she wanted was really expensive ($200 cooking pots and that sort of thing) and I didn't want to go that far out of our budget. Seanie got his brother Jared a Star Trek fan comic that was a surprise hit. (Well, surprise to me. Seanie was confident all along.) He also teamed up with Terry to give him a bedside lamp with a bear-shaped base. It's a family in-joke and went over really well.
To the twins, Seanie and I gave a collection of Where's Waldo books. They went over quite well, especially after Seanie explained in a beautiful little speech that he had loved the books when he was a kid because he could read them all by himself, and he could always find something new hidden in the pictures. After Liam found a visual pun on one of the pages, he was sold on the books; Arlo became absorbed in trying to find Waldo and his friends on each page. It was the only time they sat still the entire day.
They did not sit still for long, though. In addition to the many toys they received, Mama and Papa Buckley gave each twin his own bicycle, so we had to out into the cold to watch them practice riding up and down the road. While the kids were pretty good at balancing on the bikes - I guess they've had practice at their mother's house - the concept of braking is one at which they need to work before we set them loose on the streets of Willow Glen.
Dinner was raviolis from La Villa, and they were good. There was fresh bread from Mama Buckley's breadmaker, salad, and blackberry pie for dessert. I wish I could remember it better, but we were up so late the night before that I was getting pretty sleepy, and Seanie was really starting to wind down as the medicine wore off. We left a bit early so that we could get home before either of us was too tired to drive.
It was a good Christmas. Cutting back on presents with the adults really helped rein in the excesses of previous years and allowed us to focus more on enjoying time as a family.