My mom gets so excited when any of us are coming over, and she is ecstatic when all of us are there at the same time, so instead of just stating a time for everyone to be there, she tries to "orchestrate" everyone being there at once at least for part of the time. For Christmas, as for most family gatherings, she wants to coordinate the arrival times of everyone so they at least overlap so she can have her family together all at once for at least a fraction of the day...I know her strategy well even though she is never just blunt and says that is what she is doing. It's not an easy feat for her in recent years with most of the grandkids grown and some living in other places, and the crazy schedules of those who live nearby...and yet she tries her very hardest to get as many of us together as possible.
I had talked to my mother about this a couple of days ago and when she called and asked "What time do you think you are coming over?" I told her that my husband and I would plan on being there between 2:30 - 3:00. In the meantime, she called my sister and asked "what time were you and J planning on coming over?" and my sister said, "what time do you want us to be there?" and my mother said "what time can you be here?" . . . and so on, and so on. They hung up with that still undecided. That same conversation most likely also happened with my two brother's because she told me what times they said they thought they were coming by.
My mom called me again last night. She asked, "so what time did you say you were coming over?" I said, "we said 2:30 - 3 p.m. didn't we?" and she said "I think so." And she said she still had to talk to my sister and brothers and find out what they are doing. Then she called me again before 9 a.m this morning and asked "what time did you say you guys are coming over?
I said, " 2:30 - 3 . . . Is that still okay?" and she said, "well, ___ is coming early in the afternoon, but ___ can't make it till 5 - 5:30 because they have to go to her mother's and won't get here till later. Will you still be here?" (she paused for my answer) I told her "yes, we would stay till whenever they got there" and she sounded so happy about that. I expect to get a few more phone calls between now and tomorrow verifying our arrival and staying times and an update after she gets a confirmation time from my sister.
The greatest gift for my mother is to have her entire family squeezed together in her "manufactured home" with noise and chaos all around, messes being made and grandbabies giving her hugs. As for presents, we could give her a bucket of poo (that she will treasure, because it's the thought that counts) and she would be happy...because we are all there and it's not about the presents or anything else...because as dysfunctional as we are at times, my mother loves all of us.