In the morning, my sons and father and I cleaned up the place, got ready, and exchanged presents. After relaxing and playing around for a bit, my dad went out and picked up my mom and brother, and we exchanged greetings and gifts yet again. Finally, my cousin and her husband came over and we all had Christmas dinner together. (It wasn't a strict "Christmas" dinner in any sense other than that we had it on Christmas. There was ham, which is fairly common this time of year, but my father also made a shrimp dish, and mashed potatoes, and stuffing, and broccoli, so I'm not sure how "Christmassy" it was, strictly speaking. Still, it was all good, and there was plenty of it, which is really all that matters on the holidays, IMO.)
We listened to Christmas carols (mostly the John Denver and the Muppets cd, a favorite of mine since I first got it on vinyl as a child), talked, relaxed, played board games, and did all sorts of other things and had a lot of fun doing them. I helped my little one build one of the Lego castles I got him, and my cousin and brother (and father and my other son and...) helped him with the other one. Both kids played video games, of course. One of the best times I had, though, was playing Monopoly, of all things, with people.
Now, you have to understand something - I often live about as digital a lifestyle as is humanly possible, and honestly board games and card games and the like tend to pass by without leaving a ripple on the surface of my consciousness - I don't mean to snub them, or anything, but I just don't think of them much. One of the things my mom got my son for Christmas this year, though, was a Star Wars ("classic" trilogy! yay!) edition of Monopoly, and so we played. I had forgotten (or perhaps never realized!) how much strategy and bargaining there is in a decent game of Monopoly, and how much fun it could be. It was amusing, playing with several other adults (and my older son) made me realize how much goes into the game - owning spaces on the board becomes critical to winning, of course, and owning all of one color is pretty much a requirement for success. People were working so hard to avoid giving anyone else a complete color set, and bargaining so hard back and forth to get a complete color set, that we often spent more time haggling back and forth (and ribbing each other good naturedly over the results of said haggling) than we did actually playing the game, per se. Some turns took 10 minutes, but we all had fun making them. Towards the end, I managed to consolidate my "holdings" to two colors, and while I had sacrificed several other properties to get them, I had those two complete sets and I started building houses ("starships") as quickly as I could afford to, gambling everything I had on those two areas. The gamble paid off - while I sunk a lot of money into them, a couple of times people landed on those squares and it was devastating to their finances, forcing them to sell off and mortgage some of their own investments in order to keep from going bankrupt. (Not too long before that, I had been in the worst position, with the least cash and the fewest properties owned, and honestly figured I'd be the first person knocked out of the game.) One player dropped out (to join in another game/group, not because he was losing), and then at the end the other three players (my brother, my mother, and my son) had a merger and formed one "mega" team that owned almost all of the properties (I had 6 squares) but moved as one monolithic player, to try to beat me. Ultimately, what did them in was not me, but a bad card - they pulled a card that required them to pay something like 40 credits (aka bucks) for every building they had built (I think it was 16 at the time), which left them with no cash and basically set them up to crash and burn next turn (they were near my properties), and we were all getting tired of it, so they resigned. I won! ;) But honestly, I was having a lot of fun even when I was in last place and it looked like I was about to lose (I had to sell some of my stuff for cash a few times, too). It was just really nice to sit around in the living room with people I loved and spend time together, having fun, no matter what the manner. I need more times like that.
After everything else had died down, my mother and brother and father and I curled up on the couches and I put on Firefly and showed them the first disk - episodes 1-3 (including the double-length premiere episode, Serenity) - which they loved, of course. I miss that show, sigh. But hey, at least people can still enjoy Firefly and Serenity on DVD.
It's getting late (later than just late; it's nearly 5:30 am now!) so I'm heading to bed. I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday season, and I hope you're all getting everything you could ever ask for!
Disclaimer: I started writing this around 5 am, and so am mildly incoherent. Wheee!