Kyle, of course, received most of the loot, even though he would have been pleased with a ball of wrapping paper. We barely fit it all beneath the tree, which made us awfully glad we had moved to a bigger apartment this year. Last year our tree was crammed next to the refrigerator, forcing us to stack some of precious gifts next to the leftovers, behind the cold cuts. Nothing says "I love you" like earrings covered in spilled orange juice.
Santa wasn't the only person to blame for the pile beneath this year's tree. Kyle's grandparents were also guilty (the locked doors and lack of a chimney couldn't stop them from visiting, either). They didn't seem to grasp the concept that we live in an apartment and have limited storage space, which is why a number of gifts were larger than Kyle himself (some assembly required).
Kyle, of course, had no clue of what was going on, and spent the weekend in shock, often staring at everyone. Once the gifts were opened, he threw a few of them around the apartment, certainly making beautiful noise for the tenants below us. He whacked the buttons on the toys he didn't throw around, and they, in turn, made loud noises that permeated throughout the apartment. One such toy is shaped like the inside of a car, complete with a wheel and a horn that shouts "HEY! GET OUT OF THE WAY!" when you press it. Our kid is already learning how to become a New York driver.
Then there was the assembling part, taken up by the granddads. The two of them went through the instructions step by step and put together a toy with such precision you'd think they were building a new skyscraper. Jennifer and my mom, meanwhile, created a Christmas dinner that would put some of the city's finest chefs to shame. Meanwhile, I stayed busy with my main task, which was making sure the beer stayed cold.
Now it's all over. The toys have been put together, the wrapping paper has been recycled, and the grandparents have gone home. It was a Christmas to remember, though, unfortunately, Kyle won't remember any of it. At least we'll always have the pictures. That, and the loud toy dog that barks "Jingle Bells."
Tonight marks the end of 2008. What a year. Here's hoping that we all have a joyful, calmer 2009. Happy New Year everyone!