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23 December 2005 — Two Types of Christmas (7)

A couple of weeks ago I delineated the differences between Roths and Gates when it comes to Christmas shopping. (Summary: Gates finished shopping sometime around Thanksgiving; Roths still aren't done.) Today I'd like to observe a few other differences between these two types that become apparent at Christmas.

Stocking Stuffers
Gates: Many little stocking stuffers, few of which actually fit in the stocking. When together, take turns opening. When apart, open one a day until Christmas. Still do stocking stuffers.

Roths: only a few stocking stuffers, all of which fit in the stocking. One is always an orange. One is always cash. None are wrapped. Stocking is simply turned over and dumped on the floor on Christmas morning. No longer do stockings.

Opening Gifts
Gates: All gifts are passed out. Everyone sits calmly and takes turns opening gifts. Kris opens a gift: everyone oohs and aahs. J.D. opens a gift: everyone oohs and aahs. Tiffany opens a gift: everyone oohs and aahs. The process can take days, weeks even.

Roths: Gifts are passed out. While they are being passed out, everyone opens everything at once in a flurry of paper and bows. There are a lot of hurried thanks. The whole process takes ten minutes.

Food
Gates: Traditional Christmas fare: ham, sticky buns, etc. Not enough food for the entire group.

Roths: Home-made pizza! (Or, if we're really lucky, fondue!) Cookies! Cake! Lots of it. Yum.

Celebration
Gates: Christmas day.

Roths: Christmas eve. Christmas day is for going to the movie theater!


TWO WEEKS of daily posts? Bwahahahahah! And here I thought I was ready for a hiatus. I've already written posts for the next two days, too, and have several more nearly finished. Lisa's logorrhea is contagious.


Comments
On 23 December 2005 (11:37 AM), Jeff said:

The Nofziger/Gerig way of doing Christmas very much resembles the Gates way... except for the not enough food part. With the Steph's family, you have enough leftovers to eat for almost a week.

Our own traditions are beginning to follow more of the Nofziger/Gerig way than the Roth way... :-(


On 23 December 2005 (12:11 PM), tammy said:

Hubbys family way: Wine, prime rib, half cooked asparagus or broccoli spears, mashed potaotes and clear mushroom gravy eaten off of fine china. Plenty for all. Wine and coffee flow freely all day. Gifts are passed around and opened in the same manner as the Gates.

Swartzendrubers: ham, turkey, three vegetables cooked well, two or three, jello salads, a token veggie salad, sweet potatoes, mashed potoates, heart ham gravy thick and white, and about 20 different deserts... very little coffee. Presents are passed around and opened immediately no one waiting for the other. People are yelling across the room at each other, bashing each other on the head with empty boxes because no one is listening to them, kids are loud and nosey and you pray for wine...lots of it...but there is none!


On 23 December 2005 (12:12 PM), tammy said:

Ooops tahts suppose to be kids are loud and noisey not nosey!


On 23 December 2005 (09:25 PM), John said:

When everyone in my family reached a certain age (18? 21? Can't remember!), we called an end to the "everyone must buy a gift for everyone else" insanity, and instead play what we call The Gift Game. I'm sure it didn't originate with my family - anyone else heard of it?

Everybody brings two wrapped presents. These presents must be inexpensive (less than $20 or $25), and suitable for anyone playing the game to receive.

The presents are all piled together, and everyone draws two numbers from a hat (there are as many numbers as presents - this means everyone gets two presents). The person that drew 1 goes first and picks a present from the pile, unwrapping it and displaying it for everyone to see.

Person number 2 has a choice: they can either pick an unwrapped present from the pile, or "steal" a present that's already unwrapped. If a present is stolen from you, you can either get a new one from the pile or steal someone else's present.

Two caveats to the "steal someone else's present" rule: You can't steal a present back immediately from the person that stole it from you. i.e., If Uncle Fester stole the Home Electrocution Kit, you can't steal it back from him - but you can steal it back from Cousin It if It steals the kit from Fester, even if it's during the same "round" of play. And the other rule is that the round-robin between you, Fester, and It can't go on for the rest of the night... we usually say that once the gift has gone around the group once, someone has to go to the pile.

The Game is really a lot of fun. There's always one really awful present in the batch somewhere that someone gets stuck with ("Doesn't anyone want to steal my Chia Tarantula?"), which is why there's two presents for person instead of just one; the odds of one person getting stuck with multiple stinkers is pretty low.

It takes a lot of the gift-giving pressure off, too. No longer do you have to worry about trying to find the perfect gift for someone, nor do you go broke having to buy gifts for everyone in the (extended) family. The most popular gifts that I can remember have been cans of cashews, Silly Putty, and movie passes.

John


On 24 December 2005 (01:24 PM), Tiffany said:

Where have you been during the Gates’ Christmas gift opening? We only take turns when there is a small group of Gates’. During a normal Christmas morning all the gifts are open at once with huge paper ripping sounds. Expect Dad who still uses his pocket knife to open every gift. There are often paper fights that result from out inability to throw the wrapping into the trash boxes that are in the middle of the room.


On 24 December 2005 (02:08 PM), J.D. said:

That's true, Tiff: I think I've only been at two large Gates gift openings, and they're just as chaotic as Roth openings. Most of my gift openings, though, have been with Kris (and sometimes your parents). These are much more sedate affairs! Maybe what I'm describing is the McGee approach to gift-opening.


On 27 December 2005 (08:16 AM), jenefer said:

Which Gates food events have you been to? There is always enough for several additional families to join us. Always left overs. Fattther, our maternal grandfather, Kris's great grandfather, used to look at the groaning board of a table and say,"Well, Babe, we can always go to McDonalds if there isn't enough food." Some years we have a Mexican theme with enchiladas and burritos and quesadillas. Carne Asada! Yum. This year we had a very nice pork roast, cowboy potatoes, green salad, rolls, applesauce, candied walnuts and stuffing. It was all followed, an hour later, by a mocha mousse cake. We missed you!