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Wrapping up another Christmas

By Tammy Keith

This article was published January 8, 2018 at 9:17 a.m.

Christmas is over, and most people have packed away the decorations and moved on, but I’m still reflecting on my family’s celebration.

We celebrated at my parents’ house last weekend because it worked out better for everyone’s schedules. It was a little less stressful not having to make the

Dec. 25 deadline, and I found myself ordering online and having things shipped to my mother’s house, just in the nick of time.

Writing a recap each year helps me record the memories for posterity. Highlights included the following:

• Food, food, food. My husband brought pumpkin cream-cheese cookies and Oriental Crunch and an addictive cheese ball, and my sister-in-law made a gingerbread cake that looked like it could be in Southern Living magazine. I’d sent my dad a gift basket with a coffee cake, and Dad cooked a ham and made his homemade soup that I could eat every day the rest of my life, and his to-die-for homemade rolls, which I slathered with local honey. Plus, we were there for New Year’s Day — so there were black-eyed peas, chicken and dressing, and more. That doesn’t include the stocking candy that I’m still working on. And I know where my husband has his hidden.

• Best guilt-inducing present — A Fitbit. I don’t make resolutions, but I am going to try harder this year to exercise more regularly. My Fitbit lets me know when I’ve been sitting too long, and it tracks my sleep, which thus far has been terrible. I forgot to wear it today, and I’ll admit I feel a little free.

• Most-appreciated gift — This has lots of nominations. My husband was thrilled with the

Waterpik showerhead I bought him. You would have thought I bought him a new car. This is the Lamborghini of showerheads, though, with all its settings. I got my mother, on eBay, a 12-piece place setting of her retired flatware, a set I started for her when I was in college. We will never run out of spoons again. My brother was happy with the custom thank-you cards for his medical practice. Yes, some people still write personal notes, and we’re a note-writing family. My younger son loved all his kitchen supplies, and his girlfriend, who loves to cook, will, too.

• Least-appreciated gift — The jumbo jerky tube I gave my older son, who loves to hunt, has already been returned.

• Most unusual present — Probably the sling blade my older son received. (The actual weed-whacking tool, not the movie with Billy Bob Thornton in it.)

• Sweetest present request — The only gift my dad really wanted was pictures with his four grandsons and great-granddaughter.

• Most stressful 15 minutes — Getting the grandparents, four grandchildren and great-granddaughter to smile and look at my sister-in-law’s camera at the same time, while my DIL and I made noises, sang songs and jumped around like crazy people.

• Funniest moment — Probably when I tried to silence one side of the room so I could hear my dad’s story about using a sling blade in a surveying job one summer, and I accidentally decapitated a Santa figurine with a karate chop to his head. Also hilarious was watching my 2 1/2-year-old nephew dance to Justin Timberlake songs. My nephew has an amazing sense of timing and rhythm for his age.

• Most fun — Watching the excitement of my youngest nephew, his just-turned-7 brother and my precious almost 8-month-old granddaughter enjoy their toys and each other (if you don’t count the brothers arguing over a scooter and one poking the other in the eye with a pool stick).

It’s not officially Christmas until my mother looks at the mound of presents and says, “This is a sin.” She said it, and we can put another Smith Christmas in the books.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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