While it has always been the tradition in my family to spend Christmas Eve together, it has always been the tradition in Jessica’s family to get together on Christmas Day. This works out nicely, allowing us to spend ample time with everyone — provided they can come — on both sides. It’s no short drive for us, no matter in which direction we go, but the drive is always worth it.
The food is always a loose, informal thing. Every family — again, of those who can make it, since that fluctuates from year to year — brings what food they can. We try to plan ahead, so there are no duplicates. People come and go in and out of the kitchen, grabbing a plate of whatever they want, when they want. When things have calmed down and people are no longer ravenously hungry, the children gather for opening presents.
Much like the “Rudolph game” is a tradition with my side of the family, the “cling wrap game” is a tradition with Jessica’s side. I’m fairly certain I’ve explained it before, but I’ll do so at least once more.
Everyone buys a couple small gifts and a couple gift cards. (This works better when you have a large group of people.) Then you wrap all the gifts up in cling wrap. If you have larger gifts, or fragile ones, substituting a piece of paper with its name written on it is an acceptable replacement for wrapping in the cellophane.
Now for actually playing the game: the person whose turn it is attempts to unwrap the giant ball of plastic wrap while wearing oven mitts. The person whose turn it will be, rolls a pair of dice attempting to get doubles. When they roll a double, the person wearing the oven mitts removes them and hands them to the dice roller, whose turn it is to attempt unwrapping the ball. And so on, and so forth. As you unwrap gifts, or gift cards, or paper representing gifts, you win those things.
Like so much in our holiday celebrations, it’s never about the gifts. In fact, many of those gifts won are traded between family members. No, as it is with Namine’s priorities in gift-giving, it’s about the experience and the fun playing the game.