My children went through all the costumes we had in the basement from previous years. They picked ones from those to wear this year! So, no money laid out for that this Halloween. I did have to spend $7. on a huge sack of lollipops to pass out though. But, money saved is money saved. My daughter is going as a “scream” monster. She will wear a long black robe and a scream face mask and some gloves that have skeleton bones on the back. My son will be going as Darth Vadar. It is a one piece outfit with a separate mask and cloak. Simpleness abounds! Easy peasy and hopefully, I am finished with all that crap until next year. My teen isn’t trick-or-treating this year, he is 16. A bit old for it.
My sister, very bravely, called my aunt and asked what the plan was for Christmas this year. My aunt seemed to have forgotten all about my agreeing to host. However, she was adamant that she would not be the one hosting and that she was thrilled if I was willing to do it. She also told my sister that she was not at all mad at me. That it was a long time ago now and she is not one to hold a grudge. Since I am also not one to hold I a grudge, I am relieved! I will be having family here for the holiday. I reckon it will be a circus, but it will only be in town for one day, so I can survive it.
I figure, as the host, I will provide a baked ham and a roasted turkey. Everyone who comes can bring a side dish or a dessert. I prefer side dishes myself, but a lot of people like desserts. The past few years, the family gathering has been themed. I remember two years ago it was a costume party, and everyone wore their Halloween stuff. I think last year it wa a cowboy party and everyone wore jeans and flannel and boots. I am not thrilled with themes. However, I am willing to work with this new tradition. I am thinking pajama party. Everyone can wear their favorite warm and snuggly jammies. As long as no one shows up in a peignoir I should be safe with this theme. Can you see you wrinkliest relative in her skimpy babydoll nightie? Or your tubbiest cousin in his boxers and wifebeater? *shudder* I am hoping the words warm and snuggly are enough of a hint and that the fact that there will be a lot of children will motivate people to dress appropriately.
Some years, we do a name drawing. Everyone’s name goes in a hat and is drawn out and assigned. So every person has to buy for one person. We usually have a $20. limit. No one has much in the way of extra money, so we keep the limit low. Again with the money saved is money saved. Large family, no one knows each other very well, gift cards tend to be popular choices. That or alcohol. This goes wrong once in a while since we have some former and current alcoholics. Some years we do a White Elephant. I haven’t participated in that in a long time. If I recall, everyone brings a gift and it is tagged with a number and put under the tree. Everyone is assigned a number. Person 1 gets gift 1. Person 2 gets gift 2 or they can make person 1 swap with them. Person 3 gets gift 3 or they can force persons 1 or 2 to swap with them. I may be remembering it wrong.
Anyone out there familiar with other ways to exchange gifts with a large number of people you don’t know well enough to shop for? I am open to suggestions! I would like this to be as painless and entertaining as possible. Money is always tight and I might be related to people with atrocious taste. It could all go horribly wrong very quickly. What the hell have I got myself into???