Christmas is a big deal here at the Sartor house. Our inner children rule during the season. We love the lights, the parties, shopping, wrapping and giving. Putting up the Christmas tree is a sacred moment during which we play Christmas carols and sip spiked eggnog. The ornaments are memories from places we’ve visited or important moments in our lives.
Our night with our extended family is Christmas Eve, when they all gather here for dinner and the opening of gifts. We began with a son and a daughter, quickly accumulated daughters-in-law/sons-in-law, lost a couple of those along the way and picked up new ones. The couples had children and soon we’d grown from a group of four to six or eight. This year, we seated sixteen including ourselves. I keep adding chairs to the dining room and we have a table we set perpendicular to the big table so everyone can eat together, but the hated “children’s table” looms large in our future.
Gifts for us are a problem for our children because we need little and, like most couples in our age bracket, can purchase what we need when we need it. Several years ago, we decided to give creative $20.00 gifts to one another (the adults). We usually find something reasonably creative for the guys, but for my girls (my daughter and daughter-in-law) I shop the clothing sales and usually find absolutely gorgeous and expensive items for under $20.00 because both ladies are tiny and can wear sizes the rest of us truly believe are reserved for manikins.
Right now, we have a two-year-old among us and a couple of six-year-olds. Having little children under the tree is simply the best. This year, the two-year-old enjoyed the gift we’d given her for about four nanoseconds before she crawled into the sack in which it was delivered and then we all became two-year-olds. Her grandfather swung her about in the sack while we women chorused that the sack would fall apart and dump her on the floor.
It didn’t, and she had a marvelous time.
My daughter often gives her parents a combined gift, so I was somewhat caught off guard when Dave grabbed our gift from her and she said, “No, Dave. That one’s for Mom.” I picked it up immediately, had the devil’s own sweet time getting the paper to tear, but the minute I did, I realized what she’d done and squealed in delight.
She’d blown up the cover for BONES ALONG THE HILL to wall-picture size and framed it for me. As has been the case throughout this amazing journey into author-hood, I was not prepared for how wonderful it would be to see MY novel cover hanging on my study wall. I glance at it anytime I’m going by the room or going into the room and grin like a twelve-year-old with a new camera.
I’m proud of my children, proud of all of my family, but this Christmas, my lovely and talented daughter gets the prize for the most creative and welcome gift.

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