My dad is one of those extremely lovable people that others are always drawn to. It's why he's so great at sales. But like most lovable people, he has a couple of, ah...fun quirks. One of them is his dire need for two creams with his coffee from McDonald's, and God help you if you're in the car with him and the cashier only gives him one (Don't ask. Just don't ask).
The other is his need to add a disclaimer to Christmas.
Every year, without fail, before we all begin opening presents, he always apologizes and says the economy wasn't as good this year so we won't be getting as much - and yes, he's totally serious. And every year after we open all our presents, he says the economy isn't looking too good for next year and we probably won't get as much as next year, either.
Do you want to take a wild guess exactly how many disappointing Christmases I've had in my 31 years? That's right: zero. None. Nada. Every year, we always have a wonderful time together, and I always receive plenty of stuff, more than I actually ever need. Because it's not about the presents.
Do you know what I say every year after we're done opening gifts? Without fail? "This was the best Christmas ever!!!" Yes, you can imagine me saying that with three exclamation points. And yes, I'm totally serious, too. Every year that all of us are around the tree, without losing a member, is a huge, huge blessing denied to many. Frankly, the Payne-Stevenson family has been trending in the opposite direction - last year we added two members to the family (via marriage, thankyouverymuch, in case any of you nosy nutjobs think sissy-in-law or I are expecting).
To sit in my parents' living room, with a fire in the beautiful stone fireplace and the Christmas tree standing out against the rich blue walls, trying not to knock over each other's coffee (and keeping the dogs from knocking over the coffee), making fun of each other, and laughing our heads off, is the greatest Christmas gift this girl could ever ask for.
I hope all of you are equally blessed this holiday season. To my loyal subscribing readers, thank you for your patronage this year and for encouraging me to keep going. I love you all!
E, B, and the whole gang