Yesterday we had an early Christmas celebration with my daughter who lives out-of-town. All of us from this side of the state traveled over to the other side for some family craziness and fun. Try to picture the scene of six children under the age of six and 10 teens/adults ranging in ages 15 to 50-ish with lots of presents, food and noise. Yeah, that is what was happening, that picture of chaos and merriment that only happens a few times a year when we are all together in this situation.
There were grandparents from both sides passing out presents to the kids as well as aunts and uncles passing out gifts. I think it went on for thirty minutes and there were still gifts unopened because the toddlers wanted to begin playing with some of their new toys. Most of the big people dug into the food at this point. My daughter went out of her way to make a wonderful buffet with a few of us contributing to the spread. We had roasted pork, spicy chicken enchilada puffs, appetizers, a vegetable tray, stuffing, mashed potatoes, bacon and cheese bread, assorted sweets such as pies, baklava and cheesecake. My daughter also spent a lot of time and effort into making homemade food gifts for everyone. We all got candy and brownie-in-a-jar mixes plus some homemade zucchini chocolate chip bread. She had the kids make gifts for us using their hand prints into garden path stepping-stones and then their feet prints were made into butterflies on a white canvas. I just don’t know how she did it all with having five children, one of them a nursing infant. I am proud of her and what she did for all of us to make it a nice Christmas visit with them.
I tried to carry on a tradition I grew up with at my grandparents’ house at Christmas. We would get one Hershey Kiss and a spoonful of M & M’s when we went there for the Christmas dinner. I also handed out some Torrone nugat candy to the older folks to try. I did ask each of the little ones for a kiss before they got their Kiss. It worked! Since we were all together we thought we’d give getting a family photo a try. It was something like herding cats with the toddlers and getting the older ones to all look at the camera at the same time. It took twenty-two tries and out of that came only one or two good shots.
It was a fun day and worth the 5 hours of total drive time. I know once things settle down there the kids will be able to enjoy their various gifts and my daughter can relax until they do Christmas again when it is actually here. For me, I need to get my tree up and decorated and begin some baking and pasta making.
Did I mention the teenage boys went outside and decided to burn some stuff on my daughter’s big burn pile? Yep, there was a couch among boxes and other yard debris. It was a huge fire for awhile there.