I told you all about the plan. Now I'm going to let you know how it went.
I was braced for disaster at several levels but things actually went reasonably smoothly. This is the fourth year we've held to this particular holiday routine and schedule and whether it was that we could anticipate the potential kinks, had lower standards or simply that the boys found the routine familiar ... it worked for us.
Not that there weren't minor tantrums and issues to be dealt with. But no real curveballs or dropped passes. (I am not a sports person so that is the extent of my athletic metaphors and if I mixed up games ... meh.)
I think keeping Christmas Eve quiet helped. So did having everything spelled out on the visual schedule. Another big help was Nathan's attitude. He was excited about Christmas and his excitement caught Alex's curiousity. They were active participants this year instead of being dragged along.
Alex was even interested in unwrapping his gifts. Often less interested once the gift was revealed but still voluntarily participating. Nathan is still having some trouble with control issues but we held firm to our requirements (no screaming, use your words to say what you want) and managed to get over the bumps.
On the purely materialistic level, I think we did pretty well. We got several DVDs we'd asked for, like Brave, The Lorax and Elmo's Christmas Countdown. Dave and I had agreed to get an Apple TV for the family as our gift to each other. (We have a lot of DVDs and like the idea of them being on a central media computer rather than having to sort through piles of discs and boxes.) My parents offered to get us the interface cable we'd need for our ancient cathode TV to talk to the Apple box. Which they did. They just got one which was attached to a new LED flatscreen! :) (Pause for acquistive happy dance)
Dave did pretty well on his gift selection this year. I got a Joss Whedon Comprehensive Companion (a bunch of essays on his various movies, series and comics ... more acquisitive happy dancing) and the Big Damn Heroes Serenity Role Playing Game. (I am a geek ... I am proud.)
I felt a little bad because I didn't get him anything in particular. Santa got him an R2D2 USB drive and some Hot Wheels. Thank goodness I had picked up the Apple TV early so he actually had something to unwrap.
No matter how much I say that Christmas isn't about the presents ... it's a little about the presents. We don't have a lot of spare cash lying around so a new TV was a pipe dream even though the one we had was well over a decade old. I don't consider myself a particularly materialistic person but I like having nice things. It bothers me to have worn out, repaired and cheap things surrounding me. It smacks of being unworthy of quality ... which has never been something which described me.
Any way you slice it, this was a good Christmas. Little or no family drama. Several pleasant surprises. And happy, excited children who really did wake up in the middle of the night to try and catch an airborne reindeer. This one goes down in the memory book as one of the good ones.