Man, have we had trouble getting the girls to put Christmas lists together this year. In years past, we normally had detailed lists from all three well before Thanksgiving. Followed by daily updates.

This year, though, has been much harder. L. gave us a list about a week ago. C. and M. both started lists, but they kept disappearing or were never handed over. One day last week, when I asked the girls if they had their lists ready, M. snapped at me, “Why do you need to see it?”

She might know what’s up, but she sure ain’t rocking the boat and risking losing out on gifts.

I think part of the problem is that we have received almost no toy catalogs in the mail this year. It seems like Target usually sends out a big toy catalog the weekend after Halloween, and the girls spend the next couple days fighting over it as they mark the things they want. That catalog never came this year.

An unlikely helper finally got the girls in gear. All three girls took a liking to the Brookstone catalog that came over Thanksgiving break. By Sunday night we had lists from all three girls. Or, rather, all three girls handed me sealed envelopes addressed to Santa at the North Pole that I was supposed to put in the mailbox Monday morning.

When we looked at the lists that night, we cracked up. C. listed out 13 things, all from Brookstone. She was very precise in providing us with names. She wants a Crosley ® CD Jukebox. And an Aqua-Jet® Foot Spa. And several other items that she listed the brand name, followed by the ® sign. We thought that was all kinds of awesome.

M. was giving us problems because she kept asking for exactly three things, and none of them all that fun. Which bums me out a little. She might be down with Santa publicly, but I hate that she’s beginning to ask for practical gifts rather than “kid” things. We’ll see if and how this changes over the next couple weeks.

Each year I put together a picture calendar for us and that we give as a gift to the grandparents. It’s always fun to review all the pictures we took over the past year. I do notice that I’m taking fewer pictures than I used to. And I take almost no videos any more.

What I like the most is putting together the December page. I try to slap as many pictures from Christmases past as will fit. I love watching the girls change in 12-month increments on that page.

Finally, I let the girls watch Home Alone last night. Believe it or not, I had never seen it before, either. Since it came out when I was in college, I’m pretty sure I thought it was stupid at the time, and hated how it dominated pop culture for so long and made Macaulay Culkin a star.

So what did I think? I was a little surprised. I always had it in my mind that the entire movie was Culkin trying to keep Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern out of his home. So it was weird to me that all that was only a 15-20 minute stretch at the end.

A lot of the acting was poor. The first half draaaaaags. Culkin grated on me rather than charmed.

But the girls liked it, which I guess is the most important thing.

I was reading up on Home Alone today and it serves as another reminder of how much pop culture has changed in the last quarter-century. It was the #1 movie for 12 straight weeks, which rarely happens anymore. What is really crazy, though, is that it stayed in the top ten into April of 1991, and popped back into the top ten two more times that summer. So a movie that was released before Thanksgiving was still in theaters deep into the following summer. These days it would have been out on DVD and streaming video before Easter.