Christmas morning is an exciting time at the Stark’s. The evening before, each family member sneaks around stuffing everyone else’s stockings and wrapping up the last remaining gifts that go under the Christmas tree.

When we wake up, H— Stark has a fruit bowl, her homemade shortbread cookies and plump cashews laid out. This is not breakfast, it is the prelude snack to keep up our energy as we dig through our stockings and haul presents from under the Christmas tree to our corner of the living room. Once we have distributed all the gifts from under the tree, we take turns ripping off the wrapping paper or tissue from our presents. This year, more of the presents are in reusable bags and boxes which is more environmentally friendly.

I received many great and thoughtful gifts including a gift certificate to University Art so I can buy more art supplies for my growing oil painting endeavor, a wooden spoon crafted by an artist to add to my collection, a reading light so that I can brush up on the details of a play I am going to see on the drive up a theater house during a dark evening in winter. I also received a beautiful stainless steel zester for my lemons from the lemon tree in our backyard.

Clint received, among many goodies, some essential hockey tape, a waterproof jacket for rainy days in the Bay Area and Loreto, and a large bag of snack size Kit Kats.

Heather was so happy to have received these bright German red gardening clogs that she and Peter did a little jig in the middle of the living room. She also received two stainless steel composting cans which was on her list…I guess two elves had the same great idea!

Golf balls and Licorice Scotties satisfied Peter’s love of golf, candies and his Scottish heritage.

My mom will be very hip in the new year with her Flip Mino video camera which she had customized with her own design. My sister Wendy will soon be lathering it up with her Lush products.

Everyone received some key items off their Christmas list as well as a couple of surprises they didn’t know they wanted until it was revealed with a rip of some wrapping paper. I received an OXO Mandoline that I am excited to try using once I return home for the salads I make.

It was loads of fun watching everyone open up their gifts and seeing the reaction to the items we picked out for each other.

I noticed this year I didn’t even get a lump of coal at the bottom of my stocking. Clint, on the other hand, had a lump of coal in his. I will let you draw your own conclusions dear reader. I’m just stating the facts.

Loni Stark
Loni Stark is an artist at Atelier Stark, self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker who has a lifelong passion for technology’s impact on business and creativity. She collaborates with Clinton Stark on video projects for Atelier Stark Films. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite.