Alice, I'll go back and fill in details as I have time). For now, I just want to jot down a few fun memories from Three Kings' Day.
I did a little shopping at Target once the Christmas section was marked down to 75% off (sometime after New Year's). I picked up a bunch of goodies (generally between 75 cents and $2.00 each) and felt afterwards that I had overbought, even though I didn't spend very much money - until I realized that the kids were aching to get little things for eadh other for Three Kings' Day. And so, they took turns going "shopping" in my closet (all very reasonably priced clearance items from Target and a number of other places) and ended up with all sorts of fun things for each other.
Ria bought a big canister of candy popcorn for the family and an audio book of Cardinal Ratzinger's Salt of the Earth for Daddy (no, I didn't find that one at Target, but it was on clearance on the Ignatius Press website about a month ago), Gus had a coin sorter for the family that we figured we'd designate as our "movies and ice cream fund" (the reality is that most of the younger ones love to dump everything out and waste a lot of time counting it - ugh!). He also had a nice package of Ghiradelli coffee for Daddy. Bernie had rulers for all of her siblings from Old World Wisconsin (from the clearance shelf last fall) and Terri bought little boxes of Mrs. Field's truffles that we found at Target for 25 cents each. You get the idea.
The kids wrapped their presents for each other, but with the fuss of working on the new love2learn.net website, I discovered the night before Three Kings' Day that I had loads of wrapping left and it was already getting late. So, John and I invited Ria and Gus to come in our room and watch movies during a big wrapping marathon. What fun! Without their help, we probably would have thrown all of the little goodies in the various assundry of slightly-used gift bags we have kicking around the house.
On Three Kings' Day we had to do a little relocation of items in order to fit our whole big nativity set together (they don't all fit on any of the surfaces we had available). We relocated the main set to under the tree and lined all of us up (Ria, John and I carried the big breakable kings, Gus, Terri and Bernie carried the Fontanini kings and Kate had a big beautiful Fontanini angel that a family member gave me for Christmas last year) to process around the house. Frank led the way with the "star" (what I found at hand at the last minute, which was a gold covered hair curler! - last year it was a bit of silver shiny fabric from a costume). I gave Frank instructions to walk around the house in a circle really slowly and then, when he was ready, to lead everyone to the tree because he was going to be the "star".
He filled his role so solemnly and sweetly - he very judiciously circled around three or four times while we sang "We Three Kings" and then led us into the living room.
Since there were lots of little goodies, we decided not to count how many things there were and simply start with the youngest. After they opened something, they would go get a present under the tree to bring to someone else and we'd keep moving randomly around until we were done. Frank was such a crack-up, though! As often as possible, he would grab something under the tree (without, of course, knowing who it was for), firmly announce "I choose Gus!" and hand it to his much beloved big brother. Gus would pass it along to whoever it really belonged to. It's fun to see how much they all get into present giving. There were lots of homemade goodies - paper ornaments and such under the tree - but Frank's again took the cake. He had several of his toy cars, carefully wrapped in his signature random-piece-of-cloth, all ready to present to.... Gus of course. :)
In this picture, Terri and Bernie are putting together their Amaryllis Bulb Kits (some of the many very nice goodies we found at that Target Clearance).