I’ve been asked numerous times, “How was your Christmas?”
My response – “Great.”
I’ve always loved Christmas – from the days of getting new Hot Wheels to the days of receiving shirts and socks.
We continue to carry on our Burleson family tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas morning.
This year I pushed and pushed and pushed to at least open one on Christmas Eve. But each time my wife and children responded with a rather direct – “No.”
Instead we did the next best thing for our family – play a game together.
This year’s choice, by me, was Mexican Train. If you’ve never played it, here is Wikipedia’s definition.
Mexican Train is a game played with dominoes. The object of the game is for a player to play all the dominoes from his or her hand onto one or more chains, or “trains,” emanating from a central hub or “station.” The game’s most popular name comes from a special optional train that belongs to all players. However, the game can be played without the Mexican Train; such variants are generally called “Private Trains” or “Domino Trains.” It is related to the game Chicken Foot.
And the Burlesons are very competitive, even when it comes to board games or dominoes or cards.
It was apparent from early on that yours truly was not going to be the winner on this night. I fell behind and stayed behind but didn’t finish last.
The winner was the youngest in the family, Erin, who turned 16 on New Year’s Day. If I couldn’t win, I’m glad she did. That’s because she doesn’t rub it in as the other members of the Burleson family do.
We were up early Christmas morning, knowing we had to also make a trip to Alabama that day for the extended Burleson family celebration.
Pam and Erin were up the earliest. Pam has a wonderful tradition of making sausage balls on Christmas morning, and she has passed the recipe on to Erin.
They’re great and easy to eat while tackling the opening of the gifts.
There were surprises, like my outdoor rocker for the back patio.
And then there were the “not-surprises,” too, like Emma’s new TV for her apartment in Little Rock. And Andy’s new clothes he picked out himself on his shopping trip with his mother.
I surprised Pam with a new ring, her first since our wedding in 1989. That was the most enjoyable part of my Christmas.
And I’m really enjoying my new Amazon Echo. I knew we would get along just fine when I asked Alexa to play some oldies music and some of my favorite songs of the 1970s were featured.
I’m still trying to figure out what all I can ask Alexa. One thought I had was bringing her to the office and asking her how to spell some complicated words.
I unwrapped plenty of great gifts this season. And one I received in Alabama I will write more about in an upcoming column.
But much more than the gifts, the time spent with family is what I always cherish the most.