I'll Be Home with Bells On

By Chad Leigh Kluck on

Christmas is upon us. Kids are on break from school, shop­pers scurry to find gifts at stores only to find empty shelves, and families are preparing to gather. I only bought two pres­ents this year, both of which I cannot mention because I have not given them yet. I do not want to ruin the surprise. How do I get by with so few gifts? First, I am giving three gifts. I am giving my parents my computer, so in actuality I did not buy that gift. I did buy it when I bought it, but I did not buy it as a gift. The other two gifts are what is called a drawing.

A drawing helps defer the cost of the holidays when there are many members in the family. In my extended fam­ily, there are 11 people on the Kluck side and on the Parr side there are over 20. These extra 31 gifts could cost a bun­dle if it were not for the drawing. First, each member's name goes into a hat and then the following rules are followed:

Article 1.

1.1 Put names of family members in hat. 1.2 Hat specifications 1.2.1 Must be a size suitable to wear. 1.2.2 No cookware may be used. 1.2.3 No novelty foam hats.

Article 2.

2.1 Each member must draw a name. 2.1.1 When drawing, pinky must be outed and eyes closed. 2.1.2 Cannot draw own name. 2.1.3 Cannot draw immediate family member's name. 2.2 Last draw declared invalid if immediate family member or own name. 2.2.1 Invalid drawer will now be referred to as IT. 2.2.2 A game of Duck, Duck, Goose must be played. Goose must exchange with IT if IT not caught.

Etc. Etc.

There are rules that cover everything from A to Z. Such as in the event that IT gives goose a family member of goose. It all ends with, which reads: a game of pa­per, rock, scissors, must be played to determine winner. Best two of three. The rules are the same on both sides except the Kluck side accepts the use of a baseball cap.

When the day arrives, the extended family gathers in the basement of Grandma Parr's house and opens presents one at a time while Uncle Joe and Uncle Joe talk politics. Sometimes screaming ensues, but that's because sometimes in-laws don't agree on issues. Even if it is the same person. Just kidding, I have two Uncle Joes.

This year the Kluck family is coming to my parent's house, which is not so bad if it were not for the fact that I live there during winter break, which means I must help make the house spotless. (Please, I am a college student. I have a different view of cleanliness.) Also, the fact that I bought my mother many, many matching Christmas items makes me shudder at the fact that I bought into commercialization. First there is the porcelain village that covers the living room. Second there are numerous stuffed Santa Claus fig­ures and reindeer scattered through the house. And last there is the table with matching candlesticks, napkins, nap­kin holders, pots, glasses, plates, silverware, place mats, table cloth, hot pads, etc. My mother has a whole cupboard devoted just to Christmas dishware, and there is a store­room in the basement devoted to Christmas decorations. I am not joking.

One last point, the commercialization of Christmas. Sure the little villages and dishware are cute, but do they help celebrate the day? How many people have more than one nativity scene? How many people would devote a whole living room to the town of Bethlehem? How many people would have nativity candlesticks, napkins, and plates? Maybe we should remember the reason for the sea­son. We all know that Christmas should be the day when we celebrate Santa's birth in the manger 2000 years ago.