Gifts are at the bottom of my list of love languages. In fact, they don’t even make the list. They’re buried under the list in an abandoned field in a trunk with a lock.

Don’t get me wrong–I love Christmas. I love to decorate and sing songs and see family and participate in once-a-year special events. Don’t mistake this rant for holiness. I’m just not into gifts. Not my cup of tea. No one else in my entire family–all sides–shares my disability, especially not my husband and children.

Here’s what I want: for every Christmas to be like Hamlin Christmas. And this will be the last one, this New Year’s.

Hamlin, Texas (home to the Pied Pipers) is where my dad grew up on a cotton farm with three brothers. Every year since time began, the family gathers together the weekend after Christmas. People come from different states, even, occasionally, a different country. Everyone is welcome. Faces come and go. There are break-ups. Deaths. Births. Boyfriends. Soon there will be girlfriends, too. Come one, come all, eat well, watch football. Each person brings one gift–$10 max.

Then we do the thing where everyone takes a number, and when yours comes up, you can steal from someone else or take your chances at the pile. The game ends when there is no more horse-trading.

The great thing about doing this after Christmas is that everything is on sale. So if you want to get ooh’s and aah’s, you can bring a nice bath set. If you want laughs, you can bring duct tape. Once we bought our gifts at the gas station on the way there, and they were hits. The gifts are just fodder for the game.

This will be the last celebration because the last person to live in Hamlin–the host–is moving to be closer to family.

Fayma, I love you more than you love me. And you’re still full of purple mud.

See you soon.