This is NPR News*

It was a good year.
We arrived at Christmas tired, a bit frazzled, but happy nonetheless. A friend in Chicago was supposed to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us, but fell ill and was unable to come out. We were disappointed, we have enjoyed her so much in the past, but not this year. On the plus side, the house was clean.

We tried to be a bit more thoughtful this year with the kids’ gifts. We don’t usually get them much – what wants and needs they may have are more than amply taken care of at the Livovich family Christmas. And boy are they! It was a happy Christmas for all of us gift-wise. And other-wise!

In our little family, we tried to go with something to wear, something to read and something to play with. We kind of stuck with it. Kind of. When you step into those stores with all those wonderful things and all those wonderful sales, it is haaaaard to stick with a plan. But we kind of followed the plan. If you don’t count their stockings.

My favorite part of Christmas this year was the home made gift department.
Weeks before Christmas the girls were locking themselves up in rooms with tape and tin foil and crayons. There were stern admonitions to keep out! and don’t look! Oh,the wonders that emerged on Christmas morning!

Last year we began the tradition of having each child pick a sibling name and make them a gift.
It satisfies my need for home made gifts, and since all of them require help it satisfies my need to personally make my children gifts during a very busy time. I may never get the chance to make them wonderful things for Christmas, but if I can help it makes me happy.

Deli (and Papi) made Mikey some Bozo buckets.
Elia (and Mama, although mostly Elia) made Josie a purse.

Mikey (and I) had a little trouble with Elia’s present. We went for a t-shirt with iron-on embellishment, but it just didn’t work. We copied Design Mom, with a little success. Elia loves her Super Girl shirt, but it’s nothing professional, by any stretch of the imagination.

The pride on each face as their gift was opened made me burst my buttons, I tell you.
Most of these gifts have broken by now. I mean, really, how are you going to make a 3 year old beat his tin-foil, tape and oatmeal carton drum softly enough so he won’t break it?

But they sure enjoyed making and giving. That’s all I can ask for.
I want them to love giving and I want them to love receiving, no matter how “made by hand” the gift looks.

Oh! And Papi and I got lots of beautiful presents as well!
Here you see me modeling my Queen Tut Shield. It works a better for me as a cape, I’m messy when I eat. So if you see a woman flying about town in a cape, imperiously demanding that all bend to her will, well, it’s me.

Last, but not least, Josie (and Papi) made Deli a TV with attached microphone. So he can do shows for us.
So cool.
It was taken over by a certain someone, though.
Hmmmm, does he have a face made for radio or for TV?

* alternate title – A Christmas Ham

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