But my sister and I learned how to make Christmas extra-fun from the master. Every year when we were growing up, my normally practical mom bought a Christmas gift for someone (usually my dad) that was not functional — and slightly wacky — and it entertained us all.
Those gifts ranged from a tin of chocolate-covered ants to a remote-controlled car.
Trying to follow her lead as adults, we came up with the following fun Christmas gifts and activities that added a little extra pizzazz to the holiday.
1) Karaoke. Bought a karaoke machine at a yard sale and we all took turns belting out songs the night before Christmas.
2) Photo props. Created some props — including an empty frame that people held around their faces — and ended up with photos that were cute, and fun to take.
1) “The Clapper” (as seen on TV). Bought this device unopened and in the original box at a yard sale as a gift to my parents. Lights were turned on and off the entire holiday at the clap of a hand. (It didn’t actually work very well, though, so I should say they were turned on and off by many claps of the hand.)
3) Zip line — that connects between two trees. (The kids in the neighborhood ended up liking this ride a lot more than my son did, unfortunately!)
4) A weird pinkish penis-shaped plastic toy with slimy liquid inside. Don’t know what the original purpose was (or if there was any at all), but when my son (who was 8 or 10 at the time) rubbed his hand intently and repeatedly up and down the device trying to make the fluid inside move, we all had to burst out laughing.
5) A large, stuffed dog that looked just like Peaches, our old family pet. Peaches II was in every photo, every lap and in every conceivable location that holiday. He still sits on the floor in my parents’ living room.
6) Bright red wax lips — the kind we enjoyed wearing when we were kids.
What special Christmas gifts and activities have you and your family enjoyed?
Holiday blog posts: