Hanukkah Par-tay!

Last year, by Christmas Day, Rob and I were so over the holiday season. Hanukkah will do that to you. Eight days of presents is actually exhausting. Also? I started thinking about gifts mid-October, so I've been in holiday mode for 2 months.

12 days to the beach. 12 days to the beach.

We went to Rob's parent's house this weekend for the annual Hanukkah party with the family. There's no open-one-gift-everybody-say-Awww-move-to-the-next. It's chaos. Everyone stakes out a place in the living room to put their horde, and then takes their presents and runs around handing them out, sometimes via tossing them through a snowstorm of furiously opened wrapping paper to the recipient. It's GREEDY! Half-way through dinner, my sister-in-law (who's, like, 32) starts bouncing in her seat.

"I want presents!" she stage whispered, grinning. I grinned and started bouncing, too.

We had to wait until dinner was cleared and the table cloth was replaced (dinner used a "meat table cloth" and dessert needed to be laid out on a "dairy table cloth" which any rabbi would probably tell you was bull and doesn't count as keeping kosher, but trying to serve non-dairy creamer for coffee would have resulted in an uproar. So. Anyway.) The we had to wait through dessert, and then we all had to light candles, which I love doing as a group.

*pictures are coming*

THEN we had to give Rob's grandma her special gift. She's 89, but she's still pretty good at using a computer, as long as it's not too complicated. She likes to play bridge online and poke around on "that internet"; she'll probably do email, too, now. Well before Thanksgiving, Rob found a good deal on a basic-format computer (by Google... it's Linux based!) and emailed all the cousins and his siblings to see what they thought about pitching in for it. They agreed, my in-laws bought the printer, and Rob's sister, Judi, picked out a nice small desk from IKEA. Other cousins went to visit her on the grounds of being social and stealthily measured the space they thought the computer desk should go, while grandma accepted a phone call from another grandchild who "just happened" to be calling at the right moment. We wrapped the monitor so she had something to open, and then explained what we had orchestrated and showed her all the rest of the boxes, down to packages of ink; everything she would need. She was speechless, and extremely happy. We're going to go down next weekend to hook it up.

Finally, it was present time!

I got a cozy sweater and 2 gorgeous yellow baking dishes from my in-laws (my mother-in-law said she bought me the sweater because Rob likes soft things, and I said, "Does this mean he should pet me?!" and then it was all awkward silence for a few moments, because I rock the foot-in-mouth disease.) I also got "How I Met Your Mother" season 1 on DVD from them and season 2 from Rob. My sister-in-law, the bouncy one, gave me a huge box of individually wrapped small things, all baking stuff, including some Sprinkles cupcake mixes, which I'm just going to go ahead and highly recommend, even though I haven't tried them, because the packaging is adorable (everyone online has been raving about them, though).

Rob's cousin gave us baked goods, including homemade fudge, which I tried to eat before Rob got to it. I got some other wonderful stuff as well, and we spent the rest of the night hanging out, drinking Scotch, and playing with new toys.