Christmas means family

Susan Manzke
Harrison making marshmallow snowmen for Grandma and Grandpa.

What do you want for Christmas? That’s a famous question this time of the year. 

As children, we had lists. I don’t remember many items on my list. We were happy to get anything under the tree. When my mom was sick and Dad did the shopping my sister and I got gloves — from the women’s department, that were extra big on our little hands. Dad also found dolls for us, too. I believe that was the year Karen and I got our marionettes. Mine was Howdy Doody and hers was a skating Mouseketeer from the Mickey Mouse show.

When our children were youngsters, they didn’t get everything on their lists either. Still, they seemed happy with the gifts under the tree.

The last few Christmases, I bought pajamas for all our young grandchildren. Toys and things came from other family members. Once what I thought were lounging PJs turned out to be regular clothes and that was okay, too — this year won’t include pajamas, so everyone will be surprised.

Bob and I haven’t exchanged gifts for years — unless I found a book I knew he’d like. We don’t need anything. In fact, I’m trying to clear out some of the clutter we accumulated over the years.

Our gifts come on two legs. That being visits from our family, friends, and being together just the two of us. Sharing time where we can hug and laugh is the best gift. Of course, this kind of package doesn’t fit under the tree, but the wrapping is super special.

Oh, we planned a family gift exchange for our Christmas. We get a random number, select a wrapped package and decide to keep it or swap with someone else. This year’s theme is games and puzzles. The youngsters swap names — one gift per person is so much more reasonable.

I think our Christmas this year started Nov. 25 when we got together for Thanksgiving at Rebecca and Andy’s house. Watching all the grandchildren wrestle and play together made our day special and I didn’t have to chase anyone. There were enough other adults around to take care of that — luckily breakage was at a minimal.
At the very beginning of our celebration, we gathered our grandchildren around us for our annual Christmas card photo — good thing we did this early, before the young ones got all wound up on the day’s excitement.

Grandson Ethan with Grandma Susan.

Rebecca captured a few snaps before the kids ran in every direction. It turned out to be one of our best photos together. We still have a few photo cards left to share with readers who send us a card and a loose postage stamp.

When Rachel’s three visited here, they had to check out our jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table. Since they seemed to like working on the many pieces, we sent a puzzle home with them. Struggling at first, turned into a family project all enjoyed. Now they will return that one for another — we’re happy to say they caught our jigsaw puzzle bug.

Our youngest grandson, Harrison, brought a project from home to make for us. Using marshmallows, pretzels, and Kisses, he built us two snowmen. It didn’t matter that the face painting got a little out of hand for this 4-year-old, Grandma and Grandpa loved his effort.

So you see that the gift of love of family will carry us through the Christmas season and on into 2019.

Bob and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. 

Susan & Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Road, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com.