Friday, December 27, 2013

New Christmas traditions!

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Or old parents, as that may be!

Per requests from our adult children, we added a few new activities to our annual Christmas celebration. The changes began several months ago when they requested (GASP!!!) no presents! Yikes...what happened to my consumer driven teens? I guess they're definitely adults now!

Because I actually love giving gifts, I negotiated to let Santa continue to fill stockings for Christmas morn. Heck, I'd already bought a bunch of stocking stuffers and (extra points for me!) I even knew where I had put them. I also talked them into one big gift for each, and they got to select what they wanted.

Another 2013 request was to do some volunteer activity as a family over the holiday. Alan coordinated a morning for all of us to work at an awesome local ministry, United Methodist Open Door. We're well acquainted with this comprehensive facility, but hadn't been there for awhile.

We showed up yesterday AM and after a brief tour, they put us to work. Ali spent the morning working in the office, helping with intake paperwork and filing for the daily clients. The rest of us kept our sweatshirts on and worked in the food warehouse.

The warehouse manager, Willy, kept finding new jobs for us as we whizzed through different food sacking tasks. We spent the last couple hours putting canned goods in recycled grocery sacks (6 cans of veggies and 2 fruit cans!) and putting them on pallets for future distribution.

Our son-in-law, Jeff, worked up a sweat as a he constantly refreshed our canned good supplies while we sacked, then moved the sacked goods to pallets and wrapped them. Darn...we had hoped to make a bigger dent on the remaining stacks of canned goods in photo below, but we know more volunteers will finish our job. Open Door has only 4 employees and relies on lots of faithful volunteers to serve hundreds of clients.

Ali suggested our other new Christmas activity. This was the inaugural year for Ebright Talks. Yes, they're based on the famous TED talks, but we were the presenters! On our last night together we took turns doing short "educational" talks on the subject of our choice. Fueled by popcorn and wine, we had a great time learning from each other! Whew...teaching is a bit stressful, especially when you're not well prepared (that was me). 

Our art teacher daughter, Sarah, borrowed a lesson from her AP Art History class. She got extra points for bringing photos which we viewed on the TV. We learned about early church architecture, and it was fascinating!

Jeff presented a cool lesson on "brainstorming" to do it effectively! He also brought a bunch of power point graphics which we viewed on the TV. Jeff gets extra credit points for using scenes from that famed movie Christmas Vacation as backgrounds on his slides. 

Ali taught us all how to play the piano by music required. After a brief tutorial, we all took turns at the piano and (miraculously) played Happy Birthday, sans music! We sang along to offer each performer moral support.

I did a presentation on antique samplers (go figure!). I handed out an framed sampler reproduction to everyone for my visual aids. Then we did a brief history of this wonderful folk art form. Alan talked about "legacy" and even gave out little gifts as part of his presentation. 

The most memorable (and laughable) portion of the evening was our guest presentator, Dr. Erin McGonigle. Erin and Sarah have been best friends since middle school, so we invited her to participate. Can you tell what's happening in the pic above? If you guessed "they're birthing a baby!" you would be right. 

Dr. Erin brought along some "interesting" visual aids and taught us all how to (safely) birth a baby...should the need arise! Erin was a great teacher to us medical novices, evidenced in the successful pic below! 

Alas, the adult kids have packed and left and we're back to work...and blogging. But now, we've got lots of fond holiday memories to keep us company!


  1. Sounds like an amazing holiday!! I especially love the teaching part. I bet everyone else loved it too.

  2. Wow! What great ideas giving from the heart, thanks for the inspiration.
    Many blessings to you & your family in 2014!

  3. What wonderful new traditions your family has started!

  4. This whole post made me smile real *big* :)
    A lovely, LEARNING holiday!

  5. Love your new family traditions and that the adult kids are adding to the family traditions!!!

  6. Susan, A Stitch in TimeDecember 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Well, that does it! I'm officially requesting membership in the Ebright family.Can you accept myself, husband Greg and son Justin? You guys have so much fun!!! Susan

  7. I love the idea of the family member talks. We have adult children and it is amazing what they know and love and could teach us. I think I'll borrow that for my family next year!