Well, my husband and I are back from Christmasing with my side of the family. The visit was in many ways just what I was hoping.
My biggest hope this Christmas was that my super fantastic homemade present of awesomeness for my brother would come together and be appreciated for what it was. Here's the story on the gift:
A little background first. One of the quirks in my family (my dad's side of the family specifically) is a tendency to hold entire conversations in movie quotes. I'm not entirely sure how this trend began, but I'm sure it's mostly because of my dad's love of movies.
Now one of the movies most often quoted is an old family favorite, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. If you've never seen it (or heard of it), it's a crazy sci fi movie from the 80s. It's also infinitely quotable.
As for the other piece of background info... well, my brother is in a stage of life where he's had a lot of major decisions to make this year. And big choices like that are often difficult.
So in thinking about what to get for my brother, the most appropriate thing to come to mind was a Magic 8 Ball. But while I liked that idea, the idea that came to me immediately after was much better: I'd get a Magic 8 Ball, and then I'd take it to pieces and customize it with my very own answer ball... and on that answer ball I would put quotes from Buckaroo Banzai.
Well, as you can probably imagine, this wasn't particularly easy. I came across pitfall after pitfall. Eventually I succeeded with an X-acto knife, a wooden answer cube, and a whole lot of aquarium sealant, but the process took a lot of time and a lot of trial and error.
But my brother's reaction to the gift was priceless. I had wrapped the ball back up in the original packaging, so he had no immediate reason to suspect that I had made any changes. Then he asked it a question and shook it and looked for the answer... and I watched as his expression went from confusion to disbelief to delight. He quickly shook it again and again to see what other answers it might provide. I think those were my favorite few minutes of Christmas day.
But there were other wonderful moments too. There was the moment I opened my new Kindle and the moment I discovered my stocking was full of more dark chocolate than I thought could exist in one place. (I'm trying very hard not to eat it all at once.)
There were several moments throughout the day when my cousin was reading my book (I finished the second draft before Christmas and gave it to my mom) and she would start laughing or gasp or make some other sound that indicated she was thoroughly engrossed. That was music to my ears.
And there were many moments both on Christmas and throughout the weekend when I simply enjoyed being around my family.
All in all, I have to say it was a pretty fabulous Christmas.