No, Early Christmas is a family holiday created by my daughter several years ago, I think because we were all getting a little bored and cranky toward the end of summer vacation.
My daughter usually plucks a 6-inch branch off of a miniature cedar tree in the backyard, and turns it into a tiny Christmas tree. We don’t sing carols or drink nog (although that’s not a bad idea); we just make presents for each other.
In the beginning, the rule was that all gifts had to be homemade. There have been cardboard tubes turned into bracelets. Hand-drawn picture books. Gift certificates for car washings and breakfasts in bed. One year, my husband wrote haikus for each of us. Another year, I created digital “dream portraits.”
A few years ago, my son, in the spirit of sibling competition, declared Early Halloween in July. The kids raided the dress-up box for costumes, and went trick-or-treating at all the bedroom doors upstairs. My husband and I handed out whatever was in the cookie jar, and spare change.
Early Halloween didn’t stick. But Early Christmas did.
We use whatever gift bags are available. This year, that included a Valentine’s bag as well as several Happy Birthday bags, plus a plain white legal-size envelope. (That was me.) (Wrapping has never been my forte.)
I made my daughter a set of refrigerator poetry magnets (typed in some random words on the computer, then printed them out on an old scrap of magnet paper). So far, she has made the sentences “I love pink elephants” and “I walk tangerines.”
I made my son a lava lamp. (Fill a clear plastic bottle halfway with water, fill it the rest of the way with vegetable oil, then add 10 drops of food coloring. When ready to use, drop in a piece of an effervescent medicine tablet, like Alka-Seltzer. Once it starts to fizz, the bubbles rise up through the colored water, and form into blobs when they hit the oil.)
I gave my husband a box of coupons to Western Sizzlin’ (old inside joke) and a DVD of the original Producers (OK, I busted the homemade rule on that one, but it’s worth it because the kids now know the words to “Springtime for Hitler.”)
Other gifts included CD bowls (take old CDs, place in low oven, let melt into wicked warped shapes), homemade photo puzzle cubes and a personalized mix tape.
My daughter gave me a skirt she had embellished with a set of concentric fabric circles — which is literally the coolest piece of clothing I now own — as well as a box of hugs.
My son, with his sister as collaborator, made a book for my husband called The ABC of Papa and Me, with attributes for every letter of the alphabet. B: “Thank you for playing baseball with me!” H: “Thanks for reading me Harry Potter!” J: “Thanks for not naming me Jessica!”
My son gave me a hand-drawn book called Me and You. It lists his favorite color, animal, book, movie, game, music, etc. On opposite pages, I’m supposed to list my favorites, too.
There’s an entry for favorite holiday. Mine just might be Early Christmas.