Not much time left and so much to do (and sadly work is trying to interfere with the fun). I have made my first batch of the new Egg Nog recipe and will share it with you tomorrow after I have sampled some tonight. Nicholas and Matthew have gone away with Tom, Dalene and the girls (brother, new wife, mother and Rob are joining them later in the week). They have gone off to Rusty Gate (where we celebrated Dalene's 50th earlier in June). Clever crowd they are, they arrive back on Christmas eve in time for the celebrations. The lists have gone out, everyone knows what their job is on the catering front, they know what the value is of the present they need to buy and hopefully all their shopping is done.
The "Christmas Game" is foremost in everyone's mind. It is the one thing that most of us get pretty revved up about and we are all out to have the funnest, cleverest and most wanted present on the night. I have kind of given up because Kathy wins most years. The game causes tears (not so much since Kelly has grown up), has Matthew in a tizz because he ends up with the bottle of Bell's which Gareth has decided to sample while in his possession for a round or two and has people forming alliances to make sure they get what they want. Sounds pretty awful but we love it.
The van Vlaanderen's started the game many years ago and Dalene brought it into our family when the boys were little. It has progressed through the years both in thought and value as buying Christmas presents for everyone has fallen by the way. The "Christmas Game" has also become our presents to each other. It works out well because if Kelly really, really wants the new Zac Efron DVD she can buy it for herself as unless there is a teasing Grinch around (hello Gareth) who tries to steal it for himself (not because he wants it), she usually wins though and is so happy with her "gift".
We mix things up from time to time but basically the rules are as follows:-
1. Set a price for the gift. We went up to R120 last year but have brought it down to R75 this year because it is more about having some fun as well.
2. The rules are basically that it must be something that you would not mind being left with (it has happened before), so unisex is also kind of necessary but not entirely.
3. You wrap the gift nicely.
4. We sit in a circle and start rolling the dice.
5. Throw a 1 or a 6 (to speed things up a bit) and you can pick a present
6. You do not open until everyone gets a present
7. Open your presents and then we go around the room, trying to sell your gift to the others (or trying to put them off the gift if you want it for yourself).
8. Set a time limit - half an hour is usually enough
9. Whenever you throw a 1 or a 6 you can swap with whoever for whatever you like best.
All good fun but be prepared to get ripped off if your present is not up to scratch.
There are many ways of playing and many families have their own variations to the same game. I have heard of a "White Elephant Christmas" where you give an old, bad taste or unwanted gift. You wrap it up beautifully and no one is allowed to open it until the end. A bit like "Deal or No Deal".
I have introduced the game to the office. This year we have people who are on leave but they want to come back on Friday for "The Game". Franc (Michael's partner) is the best to watch in action. He has been out shopping every lunchtime and is like a little child at this time of the year (even although he does not enjoy spending money and keeps looking for bargains upstairs at Boardmans). He had the cheek to ask us today if it was R100 and is now half price can he spend R50!! However, all the time he spends shopping and he usually buys the stupidest present (a shot glass and ping pong ball game one year). Then he gets upset if you don't all fight over it. So it ends up that (to keep the little boy happy) we fight over his present for a bit and then gang up against him and make sure he takes his own present home!! Thank goodness he does not read my blog (and don't you dare tell him Wansburg).
Best I get myself off to the shops. I have quite a lot of shopping to do. Watch out Kathy, I am going to beat you this year (unless you have cheated again and been shopping for Big Lebowski or Honey Badger T-shirts at the $10 shop in New York).