I never did post anything about how Christmas went, did I?
Christmas Eve and Christmas went very well indeed, thank you very much! I seem to have found a few particularly good gifts for family members, and that's always a good thing. For Kim, I prepaid for the installation and monthly service cost for a year's worth of DVR service from Comcast; she had commented on several occasions that she wished her budget allowed for the DVR upgrade, but she wanted to wait to see what 2007 would bring before adding that extra cost. Now she doesn't have to worry about it!
For Dad, there were two gifts that were quite successful: a 24" television with a built-in DVD player and VCR for his bedroom and a 7" digital picture frame loaded with a few hundred family photos to sit beside his chair in the den. I had trepidations about the former gift, but Dad had repeatedly remarked during the past year how much he wished he had a television, with a built-in DVD player and a VCR; his old bedroom TV had a built-in VCR, but with more and more DVDs in his personal library, he wanted the ability to play those as well. Furthermore, his old bedroom television was only a 13"; this is almost four times the total size. So why did I have trepidations? Because as Dad has gotten older, he has become less amenable to learning new remote controls, settings, and controls, and I was afraid that a new television would add new frustrations. Just to be safe, I had downloaded the manual for his television, which meant that I had a diagram of the television controls and of the remote, making it easy for me to trouble-shoot any problems that arose. It turns out that I haven't had to do any troubleshooting at all; he seems to have gotten the hang of it right away.
I'm surprised by how much Dad has enjoyed the digital picture frame. He told me that he spent over an hour watching it the first day I gave it to him, and he's spent a half an hour to an hour a day watching it ever since then (since it has about 300 photos on it currently and it cycles through one every fifteen seconds, he can spend about an hour and fifteen minutes watching it without seeing any duplicates). He said that part of the fun of it is seeing what comes up next, since the order of the photos is totally random; he enjoys remembering when the photos were taken, what was going on at that time, etc.
Susan seemed quite pleased with the assortment of flavored green teas that I got for her; I had tracked down flavors that she didn't even know existed! I also got her a 2007 Linda Nelson Stock Calendar; this is one of her favorite folk artist, and Susan thought she had quit doing calendars as of this coming year (what she didn't know was the artist had simply changed publishers). Otherwise, there were few surprises for her; Susan, like me, tends to acquire a lot her wants as she sees them, knowing that (due to the collectible nature of a lot of these items) they may not be there, so many of the gifts I got her were sort of predictable--a favorite candy, a 365 Cats calendar, and that sort of thing.
No real surprises for Cole, Christy, or Jessica; they come from a generation that wants gift cards rather than gifts, so I gave in and got each of them gift cards from the stores of their choice as their major gifts, with a few little personal gifts to accompany them. I don't enjoy giving gift cards rather than gifts--but I thought about it and decided that gift-giving should focus on what the recipient wants, not what the giver wants, so I did the gift-card thing even though it seems somehow impersonal to me...