The one tradition my family continues to carry is what we call the gift game. I’ve heard other families call it various things, but we know what we mean by “gift game”. Everyone brings a gift according to predetermined guidelines. Everyone draws a number from a bowl to determine the order they may choose from the gifts. After the first gift is opened, the next player gets to choose either the opened gift or a wrapped one. If your gift is taken by another player, you get to choose again.
In my family, the goal of the game is to bring a gift that will be fought over. My brother-in-law will steal the most popular gift each year to get a chain of stealing going, so we always hope he draws a high number. It doesn’t matter what the item is, he’ll steal it. It was fun to watch him fight my nieces for a Sephora gift card! Last year the most coveted item was a crocheted afghan made by one of my sisters-in-law. One year it was a chocolate fountain machine. Thanks to thrifty shopping, these both fell under the $20 gift limit.
This year we decided on a white elephant exchange. We’ll all find something around the house we don’t need any more. This announcement came right after my older daughter and I had already sent off boxes of stuff to charity. We discovered we each had one pricey item we hadn’t sent, because we would rather see those items go to someone we know. The family is in for a surprise when they see what we bring!
This gift game has been a wonderful way to deal with rising costs of presents as our family grew. My nieces are now college-age, with typical college-student income. The white elephant idea, or the $20 limit, makes it possible for them to join in on their own, instead of Mom and Dad having to pay their way.
But the gift game will be the second most joyful event when the family gathers this year. My granddaughter, Zoey, will be enjoying her first Christmas! My mom will be with us, too, so we’ll have four generations present. You can’t get better than that. I’m bringing my tripod so we can take a group photo.
What silly things does your family do when you get together? Are you able to share your holiday with extended family? It takes juggling, but we find a day each year when the majority of us can all be there.
The importance of family at this time of year led me to write The Christmas Wedding Scheme. Their celebration at their country estate was a longer event, running clear through Twelfth Night, but the entire family was there.
The Christmas season has always been important to Nash Sinclair. Home from the war and surrounded by his large, loving family, he realizes what is missing from his life: a wife. Not too surprisingly, he is looking at his sister-in-law’s rather becoming (and unmarried) sister when he makes the decision.
Lady Julianna intends to remain unmarried, having no need for a husband to live the life of her dreams. Rather than explain her unusual choice, she insists only a man who slays dragons would suit her, and since dragons don’t exist, neither does her ideal beau.
Not one to turn away from a challenge, Nash enlists the aid of his nieces and nephews in a scheme sure to win Lady Julianna’s affection. But as he comes to know the lady better, he realizes he’s risking his own heart. When did his silly idea become a crucial quest?
Lady Harriet Thornhill knows the summons from her grandfather means he’s decided whom she must marry. Determined that she’d only marry a man of her choosing, she stows away in her friend’s father’s carriage, only to find herself alone with young Archibald Napier,Viscount Morley.
Morley’s plans for a quiet Christmas vanish when he discovers the sweet young lady hiding under the blankets in his carriage. As she claims an acquaintance with his sister, he feels duty-bound to see her safely back to her family.
A broken carriage wheel leaves them stranded, and Harriet’s reputation is at stake. Morley’s not ready to take a wife, until he’s told he wouldn’t be a suitable husband for her. With memories of her sweet, tempting kiss filling his thoughts, he prepares to fight for the hand of the woman he believes he could love.
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