Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Romance Bandits!

by Kate

‘Tis Better to Give …

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of waking up on Christmas morning and seeing the acre of presents spread out under the tree. I loved opening Christmas presents, and Santa Claus never disappointed.

But now that I’m all grown up, I find it's much more special and fun to watch others open their gifts. I love to see the looks on my friends and loved ones' faces when they see what it is, when they look up at me with excitement and pure joy at the realization that I've managed to find the absolute perfect gift for them.

Well, that's the dream, anyway. :-)

Over the last few years, my family and I have pared down the gift giving dramatically. It's not just because of the tough economic times. It's because we all have everything we need. So what do you give an adult who has everything?

These days, in my family, we all donate to a few special organizations, then exchange fun, token gifts so that everyone has something to open and enjoy on Christmas morning. I like to give socks. Who doesn’t need socks?

But here in the Lair, we Banditas LOVE to give, give, give. Especially on Christmas Day! So today, one lucky random commenter will win our fabulous Bandita Christmas Basket!! It’s filled with wonderful goodies like these:

* Every Night I'm Yours and Every Time We Kiss from Christie

* $15 Border's gift card from Jo

* Dark and Deadly from Jeanne

* Golden Rooster jewelry and a cuddly Romance Bandits teddy bear from Anna Sugden

* $15 Barnes & Noble gift card from Susan Sey

* If Books Could Kill ARC, plus a bookmark and Ghirardelli chocolates from Kate

* $10 Barnes & Noble gift card from Cassondra

* Wicked Little Game from Christine

* Yummy Godiva chocolate from Joanie

* Captive of Sin from Anna Campbell

* Feels Like the First Time, Coming on Strong and Going Down Hard from Tawny

* The Seduction of a Duke from Donna

* $10 Starbucks gift card from Trish

* Not Without Her Family and A Not-So-Perfect Past from Beth

* Caramel TimTams, chocolate cream TimTams, and spice tea from Nancy

* The Treasures of Venice from Aunty Cindy

* and more!

What’s the best part of the season for you? What is the most wonderful gift you've ever given someone? What's the best gift you've ever received?

To all the Banditas and friends who have been with us throughout the year, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to all!


limecello said...

Merry Christmas, Everyone! :D

limecello said...

Lovely post, Kate and the other Banditas - and wow, the basket of goodies would be right up there for my "perfect gift."
My family is doing Christmas a day late, really, because my sister isn't getting here until late tonight. [It's throwing me off from the rest of the world.]
Hmmm best gift I've given? My sister and I usually go in on gifts for people, and I like to think we give awesome ones. [People have actually told us - I'm not making this up :P] But one of our friends we grew up with LOVES monkeys. We got him super nice giant monkey slippers. They encase his entire foot - like the ones kids wear. He still wears them.
The best gift I've gotten... likely because I came across it today it's on my mind... well, two. One year my sister gave me a really nice hardcover copy of Emma by Jane Austen. My first Jane Austen and I tore through all her other books. Otherwise... a really cute little purple Turtle Tot - I wanted it more than anything when I was 4(?) - and I got it. Well, I knew I would because I picked it out. :P We didn't try the Santa charade at my house.

And again - last day, friends! I've got 30 gift cards to in - they're $10 each. I'd love to give all of them away. If you want one, please let me know - or tell someone you think would be interested.

Again - Merry Christmas to everyone! :D

Linda Henderson said...

My favorite part of the holiday season is being with my daughters and my grandchildren. They are my source of constant joy. I think the best things I have received for Christmas are the homemade gifts from my grandkids. They may not be perfect, but I treasure them all the same. I think the best gift I ever gave someone was the time I did all my mothers Christmas shopping. I don't enjoy shopping. Merry Christmas everyone.

Nancy said...

Limecello, Merry Christmas and congrats on the rooster!

Nancy said...

Kate, what a fun blog. I love the pictures!

The best gift I've ever given or received . . . have to think about that one. I'm kinda brain-fried at the moment.

I did once receive a Batman alarm clock from some relatives. It features Batman standing on a base next to the Bat Signal, with a little LED time display in front of him. It didn't have the clearest instructions. But it did, unbeknownst to us, have batteries.

About 3 a.m. on Boxing Day, the dh and I were awakened this deep voice repeating, "Gotham City is in trouble! Send for Batman!" over and over and over again. And there was a light in the living room--the Bat Signal projected onto the ceiling. Figuring out how to turn that thing off took us several minutes and, since we couldn't exactly figure it out, a Phillips screw driver to remove the batteries.

Batman is now purely decorative and the Bat Signal, inoperative (inoperable? usage gurus?). That may be the most memorable gift I ever received.

Nancy said...

Linda, I think doing someone's shopping is a fabulous gift, and I love homemade things. We treasure the Christmas ornaments the boy made in kindergarten.

Joan said...

Now Lime if you don't get to bed soon...Santa might not come!

Merry Christmas

Joanie off to catch some zzzzzzzzzz

PinkPeony said...

I'm typing this with dishpan hands and there's still one dinner to go! It's much more fun to give than receive. I gave my eighty year old aunt a nice handbag last year. She would never spend the money on a decent handbag and I figure she's eighty and deserves a nice one. This year, I decided a woman can never have too many handbags so I bought her another one. My favorite gifts to receive are handmade ornaments but this year some friends donated $$ toward my soldier care package fund so I bought eighty cups of coffee for deployed soldiers through the Green Beans Cafe site and a bunch of cigars for my Marines in Helmand for Christmas. Loved your Batman story, Nancy! Congrats, Lime. Happy holidays everyone!

Pat Cochran said...

The best parts of the holidays for
me are singing in the choir at the
Midnight Mass (10:30 pm this year)
and spending Christmas Day with my
Honey, our children, & our grand- children. Also visiting with any
other relatives & friends who drop
in. "Merry Christmas!"

Pat Cochran

Virginia said...

Merry Christmas everyone!

The best part of the holiday season for me is spending time with my family! I spent Christmas Eve with them and we had one great feast!

I think the best gifts are the things people make. My sister made up all kind of fancy candies and nuts and mixes, dipped prezzles and cookies. My older sister made me a new apron, which I need so much! I feel a little guilty because all I made them where cookie mix in a jar but they did come out pretty! We also bought gifts for each other because just my two sister's and I are about all that is left of our close family.

I am not sure what the best gift I have ever given. My son was real happy with his gifts this year mostly electronic stuff, like a new hard drive for his laptop.

chelleyreads said...

hi kate!! happy holidays! awww... the dog is too cute!! is it yours?

the best part of the season for me would have to be how everyone seems to be just a bit nicer at this time of the year and just appreciating being together as a family. there's that cozy, lovely feeling at this time of the year.

the best gift i've ever given was a crocheted scarf i gave my friend when she moved to pennsylvania (from hawaii, so big change culture and weather-wise). i was just learning then so it was a bit crooked but i worked really hard to make it as "perfect" as possible--it was the first gift i've given that i actually made myself.

the best gift i've ever gotten was from my mom. she gave me a coach bag in high school and it was my first expensive bag and i couldn't believe she would spend so much on a bag but i loved it anyway. i still have it and often use it :)

happy holidays everyone--wishing you all good times, good cheer, and a happy new year!!!

Cassondra said...

What the blazes are y'all doing up at this hour on Christmas????

Santa will NOT leave you presents if he comes down the chimney and finds you up and posting on a BLOG.

But if you invite him to party in the lair with us, that might help.

Merry Christmas Bandits and Buddies!

donnas said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

The best part of the season is getting together with family and spending the day together.

Kirsten said...

The best part of Christmas is of course being with the people you love. Sharing in food ,fun and friendship, family and festivities. Feeling cared for and appreciated, talking about all the good times you had together. Remembering so many blessings makes me always feel good.

The best gift I have given I think is my time devotion and love to those I care about. But if you’d asked my mother she would say it is the card I send her this year. I’ve never been good at talking about the things that really matter. And this year I realized that those I care about might like to hear those words as: I love you, I feel blessed to know you or I think you are wonderful. So I sat down and wrote everyone a note on the Christmas card I send them. My mother called me up in tears and said it was the most toughing and thoughtful thing I ever gave her. For never realizing how much I lacked in informing her of my emotions towards her she sometimes felt a bit unsure as to my affection. I felt really bad about not making it clear sooner. But good at the same time for it was not too late to tell her she means the world to me. So I would like to remind other ladies who like me might forget, tell everyone you care. It’s a great gift to give not just for, but especially at Christmas.

The best thing I got was my mother’s forgiveness for keeping my mouth and heart shut for way too long.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Jane said...

Merry Christmas. One of the nicest gifts I received was a plane ticket. It wasn't the value of the ticket that was impressive, but the fact that I got to spend time with a family member during the holidays. The best gift I've ever given was lending a hand by giving money instead of a gift so that they could use it pay a bill.

Pam P said...

Merry Christmas!

One thing I like about the holiday season is getting together with everyone, friends and family. Everone is so busy between working and kids, often there's no time to gather and catch up, have fun. The month of December we all make time to visit more, parties, etc.,for the holidays.

Some of my best gifts are handmade, having a mother, aunts and grandmother who are all very artistic and crafty - afghans, booties, sweaters, scarfs,jewelry, wreaths, handpainted furniture,and lots more.

mariska said...

Saying 'Hi' from my mobile @ my MIL's house somewhere in Lampung, the southest province in sumatra : )
Miss you guys, and i'd missed so many giveaways *g*
My best time is now, having my holiday with all of my in laws. First time ever in 5 years! Really enjoying our time here.
The best gift i've given was making two pans of brownies to my sister in laws. Yays! The nicest gift i've ever received is this holiday trip from me Hubby. It's excellent!
HUGs to all of you Banditas..*waving*

Maureen said...

Merry Christmas! I do remember those Christmas mornings when I was a kid and my brother and I would sneak downstairs early to see what was under the tree. I would have to say the year I saw my brand new bike sitting there next to the tree is one of my favorite memories. The best presents I ever gave have to be the ones I bought for my kids when they were young. I don't remember exact presents but I remember how excited they were on Christmas morning which made the shopping and late night wrapping all worth it.

limecello said...

Joan - heh, yes normally, but as I said - my family is doing Christmas a day later because my sister's flight isn't getting in until ~9 PM.

Although, my subconscious or something is still thrilled about Christmas, because I'm awake at 6:30 AM. Sad!

Deb said...

Merry Christmas to all!
My fave part of Christmas is going to happen in about 20 minutes when my daughter wakes up: to see the joy and surprise that Santa was here and her happy smile is brighter than the lights. (...and my husband stumbling out of bed with his eyes barely open.)

Gillian Layne said...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I love, love the look on the kids faces when they open the presents. Just so fun. And I love our Christmas movie going in the evening.

I hear you on paring down the gifts, Kate. We have too. I love your sock idea. We have always done that. I happen to love kitchen towels, as well.

We woke up to 8 inches of snow this morning! :) A Christmas treat for the kiddos.

MJFredrick said...

I'm getting so excited because I can't wait to see the dh open his presents! I took extra care this year.

Last night it was fun when Mom opened her present, a necklace made by my aunt Barbara, who blows glass, and a tote bag made by ME, out of fabric covered with Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mom's v. religious.) Watching the dh today should be as fun.

Minna said...

Merry Christmas! Hyvää joulua!

The most wonderful gift I've ever given someone? Uh, I'm always giving chocolate to everyone. Really, what can you give to people who already have enough stuff? The best gift I've ever received were all those dollars for my time as an exchange student in the States.

PJ said...

Merry Christmas, Banditas and Buddies! Hope you all are having (or had) a beautiful day.

Best gift given would be my Christmas visits to a small, local nursing home. The residents are mostly poor and many have no family in the area to visit them. I visit at other times of the year but the Christmas visits are the most special. I bring them homemade gifts, read to them and listen while they share their memories of Christmas past. It's my gift to them but, really, it's also a precious gift to me.

The best gift I ever got was my youngest brother, born on Christmas morning 38 years ago. Happy Birthday, Mike! I can decorate an entire tree with the precious handmade ornaments he made for me over the years. :)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Banditas and BBs!!!!!!!!!!

cheryl c said...

Merry Christmas, everyone! I love Christmas...the lights, decorations, music, buying gifts, and being with family.

Joan said...

Wow Kristen...what a wonderful story.

Mine is kind of reverse. My brother tends to be reserved too and a couple of years ago, I opened up his gift...a digital camera. THAT wasn't the cool part though. The cool part was him saying "I know sometimes I don't tell you how much I appreciate what you do for me. NOw you can take this on all those trips you take."

Merry Christmas Bandits and BB's!!!

Virginia C said...

Hello! Happy Holidays! You lovely Romance Bandits are the greatest--your joy for life is contagious!

There is truly something magical about the feeling that comes over me all through the holidays. Love and life and memories and thankfulness. Remembering the Reason for the Season. I love to bring happiness to the people I care about, whether it's a gift or delicious food or letting them know how much I care.

I do try to carry that spirit in my heart all year long. Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to all!

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Nancy said...

PinkPeony, your coffee fund sounds wonderful!

I agree that one can never have too many handbags. My needle feet make having a shoe habit impractical, but I love purses!

Dina said...

Merry Christmas to all.

My fav part of seanso is watching the kids faces light up like Christmas trees with love they share. Also, sweet memerories of lost loved ones.

My treasured gifts rec'd are my earrings from my daughters, never take them out and my ring from my daughter, I cherish it always.

Nancy said...

Kate, I've given some thought to your "best gift" idea. The best gift I've ever been given was the boy, who came along when we had pretty much given up hope.

And the boy's father, who said to me, "We need to figure out how you can quit working full time so you can write more and give your dream a real shot." And he has stood by that, even at times when we really could've used more money.

In terms of material gifts, I don't think I can pick. I do cherish the Bottle City of Kandor (which actually lights up) that was one of my mom's last gifts to me and the gold locket the dh gave me early on.

And the super-hero picture the boy drew for me when he was four.

Highlights this morning: A package from a friend containing seals that said "signed by Nancy Northcott," with a picture of a tiny handgun such as my spies might carry; from another friend, a 2010 calendar with vintage DC Comics covers on it; from my guys, Greg Mortenson's new book, Stones into Schools.

The best gift I've ever given was my mother's last birthday party. We reserved a parlor at the retirement home and invited everyone we could think of and everyone she could think of (and still missed a few people) to come to a drop-in party. She thanked us over and over for that. We'd asked the Hospice nurse if it was a good idea to have people gather, and she said, "yes, but do it soon." So we did, and my mom died about six weeks later.

Merry Christmas and heartfelt wishes for Peace on Earth!

Nancy said...

Pat, I so envy your ability to sing. I would love to be able to do that. I mean, I can do it--just not on key! I'm cursed with the combination of a good ear and an off-key voice. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Virginia, our son is now into electronics, too. And music. His was a CD Christmas, with a couple of games thrown in.

Remember when "games" meant little things you moved around a piece of cardboard? I do!

Nancy said...

chelleyreads, I like the feeling in the air this time of year, too. It's one reason I try to avoid the mall, especially after mid-December. There's a sort of frantic aggression that cuts through that warm fuzzy sensation.

Nancy said...

Cassondra (aka The Vampire Bandita) wrote: What the blazes are y'all doing up at this hour on Christmas????

A bit of pots and kettles, there, Cassondra? *g* I note the time stamp on your comment. . . .

Nancy said...

Donnas, your family gatherings sound wonderful.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, what a lovely story, and so appropriate to the day. It reminds me of that song (by Mike and the Mechanics, I think) "The Living Years," which talks about what the singer wishes he'd told his father "in the living years."

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope Santa was good to everybody. :)

My hubby and I don't exchange gifts anymore. For the past two years, we've taken a December trip to the beach instead, which I love. We just got back yesterday, and I'm already missing the sound of the waves.

Good luck in the drawing, all you lovely Bandita Buddies.

Suzanne Welsh said...


I think the best part of Christmas is the family time and the happy time we make to spend with friends.

The best gift I ever gave was last Christmas when my daughter opened her last present. I'd worked all year scrapbooking her daughter's first year of life. It was great fun to see her, her hubby and her siblings all kneeling on the floor to look at the book together, like when they were little!

The best gift I ever got? Hmmm....There was the year my daughter painted me three pictures for my dining room, each with a different flower on it, a rose for her sister, daisies for her, and tulips for me. Then there was the year my hubby bought me a new set of wedding/engagement bands, and gave it to me and asked me to marry him all over again in front of the kids. Yep....i like Christmas!

EllenToo said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the Bandits. And I have no idea how to answer your questions.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Bandita Buddies! That's quite a haul for today's winner. Merry, merry Christmas!

My favorite part of Christmas is family, of course! Loud, rowdy, and larger than life. But they're mine and I adore them!

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--Sometimes opportunity and a helping hand matter more than things, don't they?

Nancy said...

Maureen and Deb and Gillian--One of the things I miss is having an awe-struck little one on Christmas morning. They bring a magic to the day that nothing else can.

Nancy said...

Gillian, we have rain. No snow, alas. We haven't had a snowy Christmas in decades, now!

Nancy said...

I've been browsing the Times of London online and noticed this article about Dickens and the image we now consider traditional for Christmas (at least, north of the equator):

Suzanne Welsh said...

Jo said:My favorite part of Christmas is family, of course! Loud, rowdy, and larger than life. But they're mine and I adore them!...

I know exactly what you mean! Right now it's very quiet in our house. Jim and Rocky went for a walk in the snow and I have a Christmas album by Kym Pensyl playing as I toast pecans and bake potatoes. BUT in about 4 hours the house will fill up with children and grandchildren and NOISE! And this year we have two new babies for the holidays!

Nancy said...

Another feel-good story from the Times:

Nancy said...

Mariska, we're glad you had a chance to stop by!

My mother took me to England one year for a few days after Christmas. It was a great trip. We watched the New Year ring in over Trafalgar Square instead of Times Square!

Nancy said...

Kate, the best gift my parents ever gave me, besides my education, was my summer at Oxford. I think they had to borrow the money to do it, but I'd been an ardent Anglophile since 2nd grade. We hope to pay it forward by sending the boy to Japan this summer.

Nancy said...

Pam P., I love handmade gifts. The dh's sister made me fuzzy footies, and they actually fit--which, considering how much longer my feet are than hers, is amazing.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...


Can't thank all of you enough for dropping by to spend part of your Christmas here in the Lair with us.

It's SUNNY here in Nor Cal -- HURRAY! And I saw piccies on the news last night of people surfing in So Cal. Now that's Aunty's idea of a GREAT Christmas! (Kate, I hope you are enjoying your day out in the desert.)

Nancy, I agree with you. I really miss seeing the excitement of the kids opening their presents. I guess the best present I ever gave was to my son when he was 3 1/2. All he talked about was a 'basketball moop.' (One of those plastic toddler versions.) It was so much fun to see his little face and hear his squeal of joy when he saw the thing set up in the living room near the tree.

I love to make homemade presents and usually do jam and loaf cakes, but alas, no time this year. Maybe I'll be more organized next year... if I start TOMORROW! LOL!


petite said...

What a great post. Best wishes to all the Banditas and their families. Happy New Year and much happiness, great health and success. Spending time with my family is something I cherish since time flies and life is short. A gift that I treasure greatly is from my husband. His devotion, love and since he is the universal handy par excellence, what more could I wish. Always available for any job big or small and a perfectionist to boot.

~Drew said...

Merry Christmas everyone,

What a great post, we too, have pared back the gift giving, mostly because we have just about everything we need. But,there are lots of DVD's and romance novels under the tree at the moment, LOL!
It is snowing like the Dickens here, very Xmasy.

Best gift I have given? One year Hubby and I refurbished my father's childhood radio for him, found tubes, knobs, hubby did the wiring and the wood restoration. The look on my father's face was gift enough. He teared up, he was so moved.

Best I got? Wow, there are so many, guess I will go all gooey here and say it is the DH. He gave me a card last night with a handwritten note that was so romantic, I just tear up thinking about it. He makes Xmas special.

Happy Holidays to all in the lair!
I have had lots of fun here since discovering this blog, you are all so friendly and generous, all the best for 2010!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, that's one amazing prize! Good lucm, everybody!

I guess all the American and Canadian Banditas are all tucking into Christmas lunch now. It's very early in the morning on Boxing Day here. Hope you've all had a wonderful day. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Melody said...

The best Christmas gift i have recieved was today!!! All of my children are back home, we all woke up to open presents, & had a big wonderful breakfast togather. I get to be with all my kids,watching them laugh and having a good time. That to me is a Best present, i also got a little LED light to read my books at night(yes reading without waking the husband). What can be better than Family and my Books!!! Merry Christmas to All!!

catslady said...

There's been a lot of bests over the years - a diamond ring when I lost my stone after 25 years and my first cat when I was a child (I now have six and take in and care for ferals/strays). The best gift that I got my husband (hard to buy for) was season tickets to the Pittsburgh Steelers which we had for over 15 years (until we had our kids lol). A lot of the times it's the simplest of gifts that give the most pleasure - just the right book is up there on my list :) Giving one's time is also a great gift - my husband and I volunteer at our local American Legion. Our latest affair was helping to have a party for over 100 children or grandchildren of members. Seeing the children's eyes on Santa's lap when they receive a nice gift is very fulfilling - especially when some kids won't have their fathers or mothers home this year.

Happy Holidays everyone!!

sheri said...

Merry Christmas to All!

This best gift I have given was food for a family in need. It's not often that I have "extra" money but I did that year.
My mother told me of a family in need and wished we could help. I went straight to the grocery store and filled a buggy to the top. It was a good feeling to be able to help someone else.

The best gift I've got, my family. Always there, no matter what.

The best part of Christmas is the feeling of happiness. For one day, people seem to be more at peace.

Have a wonderful, safe, happy holiday!

TinaFerraro said...

Merry Christmas to the Romance Bandits! Here's a wonderful gift I received: When I was 16, I took my driving road test a few days before Christmas. Back then, you had to wait a couple weeks for the snail mail decision of whether you'd passed or failed. But ubeknownst to me, the instructor whispered to my mother to tell me on Christmas that I'd passed. She wrote it in a letter and wrapped it in a box. I was stunned and utterly delighted!

Blodeuedd said...

Merry Christmas :)

Best given, well that is a hard one, the cute boxers I gave my cutie ;)
Best received, surely something from way back when I got a doll I wanted.

And best overall, the food and company

Keira Soleore said...

Merry Christmas Banditas and Bandita Buddies! It's very early morning Boxing Day here.

The best Christmas I've had was this year. Was woken up by a caroling two year old with mixed-up words. Much hilarity at 6 o'clock. Under the tiny one-foot tree were two gifts for two kids and one each under their pillows. The kids were delighted. Lunch and dinner out were amazing feasts. A trip to see Santa was a huge hit with photographs, dancing, and candy from him. The laughter was the best part of Christmas for me.

As with Hannukkah, for Christmas also, we choose a family's wish list from the list at the temple or elsewhere and buy gifts for them. I really try to emphasize the spreading of joy and cheer as the most important part of the holidays, not who receives what.

Keira Soleore said...

Lime, if you have any restaurant cards left, please add my name to your list. Thanks much!!

Emmanuelle said...

Wow, what a fantastic prize !! You ladies outdid yourselves this time again. I have a fantastic luch with my parents to day. And that's the best part of the season for me, being with my family in front of a scrumptuos meal. Tosay we had foie gras of course, and seafood, scalops, smoked salmon, escargots (I know Ew... didn't eat those myself) and wonderful bread and cheeses, yumyum !!

Maureen Child said...

Merry Christmas, Kate! And to all of the Banditas...thanks for all the fun blogs all year!

limecello said...

Keira - I'd love to send you one of the gift cards -and anyone else too!

I'll need your email address please!

Helen said...

Congrats Limecello have a great day with him

Hi All
and Merry Christmas from Down Under I am still at my sisters place on the Central Coast and having a great time but it started raining at lunch time Christmas Day and hasn't stopped.

The best present I ever got was the birth of my Grandsons last year. This year I have been given a beautiful canvas print of the photo that I have showing here and it is beautiful as for giving I always try to give something that I really think people will like and need.

Have a great day everyone

Have Fun

Nancy said...

MJ, I love blown glass! I bet that was beautiful.

Nancy said...

Minna, I think chocolate is always a great gift. It never goes out of season. :-)

Nancy said...

PJ, your nursing home visits sound wonderful. So do your brother's handmade ornaments. We treasure the ones the boy made when he was little, and we have some the dh's sister and her sons made and some made by a neighbor.

Nancy said...

Dianna and Cheryl C--Merry Christmas to you, too. I love all the decorations, too.

Kate Carlisle said...

Merry Christmas, everyone!! I'm at my mother's house celebrating the holiday, but the reception is spotty, so I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay online.

I've been reading everyone's comments and they're bringing tears to my eyes.

Lime, I love the giant monkey slippers!

Linda, is there anything better than homemade gifts from your grandkids? How sweet of them!

Nancy, the Batman clock is hilarious! It sounds so cool, but you're right--I would hate to wake up with that going off! LOL

Pink, I admire you so much for thinking of those clever gifts for the soldiers.

Pat, there's something magical about Midnight Mass, isn't there?

Virginia, your new apron sounds lovely. Sounds like your sister knows you very well. :-)

I hope you'll forgive the quickie messages! I'm just so nervous about my internet connection!

Kate Carlisle said...

Okay, so far, the connection's working!

Forgot to say congrats, Lime! Hope you're planning a fun day with the old bird.

Hey Chelleyreads! I'll bet your friend loved your crocheted scarf, just because it was made by you. I once tried to knit a scarf for my college boyfriend, but then we broke up, so I just kept knitting. Truth is, I couldn't figure out how to end it. It was about ten feet long by the time I figured it out. LOL

Cassondra, Santa's here in the Lair! He's had a long night, so he's relaxing in the cabana with a bloody Mary!

Merry Christmas Donnas!

Kirsten, that's a beautiful thing you gave your mom. You touched my heart with your message.

Jane, an airplane ticket is a really wonderful gift, especially if it means you can spend time with family or friends.

Merry Christmas, Pam! It must be fun to be surrounded by such artistic people! Those handmade gifts must be such a treat to receive. :-)

Renee said...

Merry Christmas!!!!! I know this sounds kind of lame, but yesterday when one of my writing friends won a 25 page critique, a partial request with synopsis from an awesome agent was kind of high on the list of the coolest Christmas gift. I know it was a personal gift to me, but it was fabulous!!!


Hubs and I always try to surprise the kids each year. One of my favorite Christmas gifts I got was a gift card from my brother to Barnes and Noble.

Lois said...

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! :) My favorite part, well, is usually the food. LOL At least, seeing that's what I'm thinking of at the moment, so it's my favorite part as of this moment. :) Love the turkey and stuffing.

I have no idea what the best gift that I've given is, but one of the best I got (though it might have been for my birthday instead, both bday and christmas are in December, so hard to keep straight LOL) was my first rubber duckie. See, I love Ernie, and Sesame Street, so I collect duckies. And my first came in college, by the way, not when I was a kid. ;)


Amy S. said...

I like to watch my nieces and nephew open their gifts. I love to see the joy on their faces when they find the one gift that they wanted. One of my fave gifts is always books. I gave my niece a book for Christmas this year and it was the first present she opened. She got hooked on the Twilight books. Merry Christmas everyone!

Kate Carlisle said...

Mariska, thanks for coming by, all the way from Lampung! ;-) Must be sweet to be spending time with your inlaws after 5 years! And brownies, yum!

Hi Maureen! Seeing a new bike by the Christmas tree is one of my fave childhood memories, too. Two of my brothers got bikes that year, so there were three bikes in a row. It was pretty awesome!

Merry Christmas, Deb! Oh, it’s so magical to see Christmas through the eyes of kids. Have a wonderful day!

Gillian, eight inches of snow!! Wow, I guess that makes it an official white Christmas! And funny you should mention kitchen towels. I got four of them! Very pretty, bright colors. You can’t have too many, right? :-)

Hi Mary! Hope your dh loved his presents! Sounds like you’re another talented crafter, making a tote bag for your mom. I’m amazed by anyone who can do stuff like that. I’m a craft-free zone, myself. Very sad. *g*

Kate Carlisle said...

Merry Christmas, Minna! You can never go wrong with chocolate. I think that’s a universal truth. :-)

Oh, PJ, your generosity is amazing. How lucky those nursing home residents are to have you visiting them! And I know you receive as much from them as they do from you. That’s the real joy of the season, isn’t it? It’s truly better to give than to receive. :-)

Hey, I got a little brother for Christmas many years ago, too! And he’s still an angel. I’m so lucky.

Merry Christmas, Dianna! Thanks for stopping by today!

Hi Cheryl! It really is the most fun time of year, isn’t it?

Kate Carlisle said...

Again, apologies for the quickie comments. I've lost my connection once again and fear it might not be the last time, so I'm trying to economize. Sigh.

Merry Christmas, dear Joanie!! How sweet that your brother let you know how much he loves and appreciates you. I hope you know how special you are. We all love you so much. :-)

Virginia, you are so sweet! It’s because of lovely friends like you that we have such happy times here in the Lair. Hope your day is wonderful!

Hi Dina! Those gifts from your daughters sound beautiful and very special. Thanks so much for stopping by the Lair today!

Nancy! Merry Christmas, Bandita! I love the gifts you got today, especially the “signed by” seals. I must say, that’s the sort of gift that brings tears to my eyes. And your mom’s party must’ve been so wonderful for both her and you, with lots of sweet memories that will last you a lifetime.

Nancy said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Kate Carlisle said...

Nancy, I wanted to add … the gift of your son and the gift of time from your dh, are beyond compare. Thanks for sharing those moments with us.

Merry Christmas, Trish! Sorry you had to leave the beach behind, but that’s a great Christmas present for you and the dh to give each other. Hope you both had a wonderful time!

Suz, your hubby sounds like a gem! What a sweetie, asking you to marry him all over again. And I love the scrapbook you gave your daughter. What a wonderful moment that must've been for her. I’m sure she treasures it.

Merry Christmas, Ellen. Thanks for stopping by the Lair today!

Aunty Cindy!!! I’m so glad it’s sunny for you today! It’s definitely a sunny day here in the desert, but not too hot, thank goodness. Just clear blue skies and a slight breeze. Perfect.

Yes, we’ll all be more organized next year. Remind me in November, will ya? :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Merry Christmas, Bandita Jo! Hope you’re having a fabulous day with your rowdy gang gathered around!

Hi Petite! How lucky to have a handy man around the house. He sounds like a treasure indeed! Hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Drew, we’re so glad you came by today. Your husband sounds like a keeper! ;-) And I can just imagine the expression on your father’s face when you gave him that radio. What a thoughtful, original gift!

Anna!! Happy Boxing Day, Bandita! It’s just past 2pm Christmas day here on the West Coast. The internet is so immediate, it’s easy to forget sometimes that we’re so far away from each other. Different time zones and hemispheres. Anyway, hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are relaxing today. :-)

Ah, Melody! I can hear the joy in your voice, just reading your comment! How great to have all your kids home. And a book light is a fabulous gift. I use mine all the time. Enjoy your time together!

gigi said...

Hi Kate,
Hmmm let me think...I love the music, holiday movies and the food of the season. Getting to wear all the festive clothes that you can't wear any other time of the year.

I love looking forward to going over to my mom's house to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.
Like you I use to love to open all the presents when I was a kid now I enjoy playing Santa's helper Christmas Eve to all the nieces, nephews and my kids ( and the dogs get gift too).

One of the best gifts I ever received is my House of Global ( I think that is right) porcelain Christmas doll the plays I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The doll is 25 years old and I still love her.
I really don't know what the best gift I have given would be, I would have to ask the person I gave to and see what they thought of the gift.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi catslady! Wow, season tickets to the Steelers! What a lucky dh you have—and I’m sure he knows it. :-) And your volunteer work is lovely. It’s so much fun to see Christmas and Santa through the eyes of kids.

Sheri, thanks so much for coming by the Lair today! What a generous gift you gave that family. It’s amazing how an act of generosity will come back to you in good ways. Hope you’re enjoying your day. Have a wonderful new year!

Merry Christmas, Tina! I love the cute gift your mom gave you. A totally original and thoughtful gift for a 16-year-old!

Blodeuedd, I do love a cutie in cute boxers! ;-) Good food and good company are always the most fun gifts of all.

Kim Howe said...

Merry Christmas, everyone. Fantastic post, Kate! My favorite part of the holidays is the time to reflect on the past year and consider how I'd like to change/improve in the year ahead. The sumptuous meal isn't bad either!

Kate Carlisle said...

Happy Boxing Day, Keira! I’m laughing about those caroling two-year-olds. How funny and adorable! Laughter is the best part of the season for me, too. Thanks so much for bringing so much joy to the Lair!

Emmanuelle, your lunch with your parents sounds fabulous! My mouth is watering over the foie gras and scallops and cheeses, oh yum! Good food and family just seem to go together, don’t they? In all the best ways. :-)

Merry Christmas Maureen! Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

Happy Boxing Day to you, too, Helen! The picture of the babies is so adorable! They’re growing up fast, aren’t they? I can’t believe it’s raining down there! I heard you’ve been having such a hot summer, so maybe you’re thankful for the rain. And speaking of thanks, we’re so thankful to have you visit us every day. :-)

susied said...

Fav. part of the holiday is when all the presents are wrapped, all the food prepared and all the family together. We then can enjoy gift giving, spending time together and having a laugh or two!

Kate Carlisle said...

My internet connection seems to be holding. Yay!

Merry Christmas Renee! Oh, that critique and request sounds like a dream come true for your friend. Of course you were thrilled. And she’ll return the sentiment when your moment comes, too. The best part about this business is the friends we make. Congratulations!

Oh Lois, I’m dreaming of food right now, too! LOL! I love turkey and stuffing, too, but we had a prime rib last night and we’re about to make sandwiches. Yum. I feel very lucky about that! I love your rubber ducky collection. I've got quite a few, and they’re all gathered around my bathtub, waiting for me. :-)

Hi Amy! I love giving my niece and nephew books every year. It’s so much fun to discover new ones for them to sink their teeth into. A few years back, I gave my niece Ally Carter’s I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU. She loved it. This year I got her Alyson Noel’s EVERMORE, and I know she’s going to love that series, too.

Merry Christmas, Nancy! Thanks for stopping by today.

Hi Gigi, I like to play Santa Claus, too. It’s fun to watch everyone as they open their goodies, isn’t it? Your porcelain Christmas doll sounds beautiful!

Merry Christmas, Kim! I’ll bet you had a white Christmas, didn’t you? :-) I appreciate that you take the time to reflect on the past year and consider changes. I’m in the process of doing that myself. I really want to plan a reasonable schedule this next year so that I’m able to spend time with loved ones and not be rushing around and panicking this time next year. :-)

Ida Brugler said...

Merry Christmas,
The best gift i give is my homemade goodies, everyone expects them and the best gift that i have gotten is the the bright smiles on Christmas morning as everyone openes thier packages. I love making people happy!


Lucy said...

Every year my husband and I watch It's A Wonderful, after the kids go to bed. It's my favorite part of Christmas, cuddling with my hubby. The best gift I've given? Can't tell you, but its right out of a romance novel. The best I ever got? My husband surprised me with a blue diamond. I cried.
Merry Christmas every one!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Merry Christmas, beautiful Banditas! The greatest gift I received this year was the scholarship you all awarded me so I could attend the Nationals. (And I'm not just saying this because I have my eye on the Godiva chocolates!)

x Vanessa

The Bastardization of English in Print said...

The best gift I gave this season was a Calligraphy set for my middle son. It was an expensive set but I found it on e-Bay. But I made a wonderful discovery about e-Bay. When you search for something there is often more than one page of your desired item being offered. The calig. set was way at the bottom of the 2nd page- I was tickled to find no bids so set my limit and watched- NARY A SOUL make a bid- so I got it one cent over offer and about 1/10th of the actual cost *^)
Best Christmas gift ever was my engagement ring many long years ago.
Merry Christmas to all and thank you for the many hours of companionship as I read your lovely stories!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Popping in to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Happy YULE!!!

Lovin' life tonight as I've had turkey, ham, sweet and white potatoes, green beans and PIE!!!

And someone else cleaned up.

What more could a girl ask for?

Amber said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday! I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing day. The best part about the holidays and also my favorite is being with my family. It seems like the only time we are really all together at the same time. I also love seeing all the decorations and enjoy watching all the old Christmas movies.

The best gift given to me besides being with my family would have to be anything that has to do with books.
Most of all I just love shopping for others, and watching their face when they get it.

Linda A. said...

Mery Christmas, Banditas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year to you all!

Keira Soleore said...

Lime, thanks a whole bunch. I'm keira at keira soleore dot com.

Annmarie said...

The best part of the season for me is baking and naking special gifts for my loved ones.

The best gift I ever gave was to my mother, it was a collage of all of her sisters and parents from old photos.

My best Christmas gift was this year, I spent a day collecting toy for the Colorado Toys for Tots program, we were short 50,000 toys and people stepped up and kids got to wake up to a present today. I was abel to help a little bit.

Joan said...

Boxing Day?

I learned today during a 5 hour Scrabble marathon that a "bif" is a type of jab used in boxing....


Kate Carlisle said...

Susie, it's clear that food and family are the best things going on this time of year. Hope your day was wonderful!

Ida, I love homemade goodies around the holidays. You're so good to bake for your friends and family. I didn’t have any time to bake this year so I had to depend on the kindness and generosity of my baking friends who supplied me with way too many goodies. Now I have to diet for the next six months. But it was so worth it. ;-)

Aw Lucy, your dh sounds like a great guy! Very romantic, cuddling after the kids go to bed. And a blue diamond? Wowza!

Vanessa, thanks so much for stopping by the Lair today! But I should warn you, I’ve got my eyes on some Godivas myself. Luckily, they were in my Christmas stocking. Hee hee.

Hi Maribeth, thanks for the eBay tip, and congrats on getting that kit for your son. Thanks so much for coming by the Lair today!

Kate Carlisle said...

Jeanne, nobody would ever guess you’d have PIE for dessert! LOL! Hope it was a wonderful day, Bandita!

Amber, thanks for taking time to stop by the Lair today! Everyone here would agree that the best gifts of all are books. ;-)

Merry Christmas, Linda!

Annmarie, how wonderful that you got all those toys collected. That’s amazing! The collage for your mom must’ve brought tears to her eyes. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Joanie, you're up late, young lady! Thanks for the Scrabble tip! My mom and SIL have been playing all day, too! Mom's winning. :-)

I'm heading off to watch WHITE CHRISTMAS, so Merry Christmas, my friend!

And Merry Christmas to everyone! Thanks for spending a few minutes in the Lair with us today. YOU are our favorite gift!

Louisa Cornell said...

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas and Joy and Peace to all!

Just got back from Mom's and I heated up a plate of leftovers in the microwave - peas, chicken and dumplings, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese and ham !! YUM!!

I hope everyone got to spend Christmas with the people they love! I drove 90 miles through a thunderstorm at night with one working windshield wiper, but I made it to my Mom's!!

One of the nicest gifts I ever received was my sewing machine. My brother gave it to me one Christmas because I had been making one quilt per year, completely by hand. He thought the sewing machine would make it easier for me. (And the quilts would be finished more quickly!)

I think one of the gifts I gave my Mom last year meant a lot to her, but it also meant so much more to my SIL. My SIL and my brother have been together a long time. Her son, Aaron, was 3 when she met my brother. Aaron is now 14. They have only been joining us at family Christmas for about the last five years. Last year I had a sweatshirt made for my Mom. It had a pretty garden scene on it with a rooster perched on the fence and it had three tall sunflowers. The caption said Nana's Reason for Getting Up in the Morning. There were names on each of the sunflowers and the words My Grandchildren underneath them. The three flowers read - BO, ALEX and AARON. My Mom loves the shirt and wears it often. But that Christmas morning when my SIL saw that shirt she started to cry. Her parents are dead and ex's parents don't have much to do with Aaron. It just meant a great deal to her that we all consider Aaron a part of our family and most important that he has a Nana who loves him. It was a simple thing. I never thought of not including his name. But I am really glad I did it!

Lady_Graeye said...

Beautiful post Bandits! What a great gift! I could share it with all my daughters and sisters.
My favorite part of Christmas is watching the smiles on the faces of my great-nieces and nephew as the open up their presents. The giggles and laughter that follows as my great-niece Jensyn does something silly; her blue eyes twinkle, her blond hair falls softly around her face and a smile so bright she melts all the snow.
I love the food, the desserts and a nice glass of wine. I love just being with my family; the ones who love me unconditionally!

Llehn said...

Merry Christmas, ho ho ho! The best part of Christmas for me is feeling what it's like to be a child again!


flchen1 said...

Merry Christmas, Banditas and BBs! Best part of the season is definitely having special time to spend with family and with friends--it's a treat to know we're making the time to catch up and to be with each other. Plus, there's usually tons of yummy food :) Can't go wrong there, either!

I think the best gift I've given someone is something I've spent time on--one year I scanned all of my father-in-law's family's photos, and made albums for him and his six siblings. That wasn't difficult, but time consuming, and they appreciated having copies for their own families.

Best gift I've received--after salvation, a journal my husband kept while we were dating; he gave it to me when we got engaged. It's still precious :)

kim h said...

happy hoidasy to all
isa y gift card an dbooks


Eva S said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! My best Christmas gift was a new son-in-law this Christmas!

joder said...

The best gift ever was one I gave, actually this year every gift I gave was one that was given to me. My family has had a VERY hard year...Two years ago my father had a work related injury that has left his right arm unable to use plus he has some residual brain damage. My mother has macular degeneration that is causing her eyesight to get worse. One of my young brothers got diagnosed as bipolar and the other is autistic. Since my parents only have Medicare as income, this year was financially not very Christmasey. So throughout the year whenever I'd win a contest that rewarded with a gift card, or for my birthday or any other holiday where I got a gift card I'd wrap them up for my family so they'd all have something Christmas morning. Unfortunately we had a blizzard here so I wasn't able to get home. But I'd luckily sent the gifts to them last week so they seemed very surprised and thrilled by what they got Christmas morning.

Laurie said...

The best gift I received: My was a Schwinn 5 speed bike when I was in 4th grade. I still have and use that bike!

Best gift I gave: Photo books filled with pictures of my parent's life together the Christmas before my Dad passed away in April.