We tried something different last night--we opened presents from within our family early! As you can imagine, with 11 people exchanging presents, this portion of the gift-giving can be overwhelming in and of itself. I really, really liked doing it early, so that these gifts didn't get lost in the shuffle. Nathan and Luke are actually earning real money these days, with lawn-mowing and reffing. But the other kids are still in the "hand-made or dollar store" gift-giving phases, and those gifts are often the ones that can get overlooked in a big pile of presents. I for one LOVED my homemade necklace (by Caleb) and bracelet (by Grace from a kit from Aunt Rose). I meant to take a picture of them, but I had to take the necklace off because Drew also loved it, and then I forgot.
A 10-Month Old's Letter to Santa. Drew would definitely agree with all those gift options, especially the cords (he is big into attempting to plug laptop chargers into their charging holes) and the toilet paper holder. For Jonathan's gift to Drew, I had a brilliant idea, since we had already plumbed the depths of the dollar store gift ideas for 1 year olds with other kids--we went to the thrift store. There we found a great spinning toy for $1.50! Drew was happy, and so was I!
There were other various gifts, leading to all the wrapping paper and cardboard scattered around in the picture above. Now today everyone is happily playing with legos and play-doh, reading new books, and wearing new shirts and ear buds. And Christmas Day itself hopefully won't be overwhelming! I told the boys that when everyone is older, we will definitely institute a "draw one person's name" gift exchange, like Amy does with her husband's family. Otherwise it will just be way too crazy! Merry (early) Christmas!!