Get togethers now are always full of laughter & fun. Once we moved out to the Berry Homestead a few years ago, we changed around how we did our holiday gatherings. When we were first married we spent both holidays with both sets of parents. My parents live about 45 minutes away from hubby's parents so this was doable. We attempted this the first year we had our oldest son. That was the last year we did that!
Then we started alternating holidays. One family got us for Thanksgiving & the other got us for Christmas Day. Who ever didn't get us for Christmas Day could have us for Christmas Eve - if it worked out that way.
Now we spend Thanksgiving with my family. We have Christmas morning at home & then spend Christmas afternoon with my hubby's family right next door. This means we try to have a separate Christmas with my family before Christmas. This year we had it on Christmas Eve morning.
We had a fabulous buffet style lunch. My mom had roasted a turkey the day before & brought leftovers along with her VERY yummy oatmeal rolls. My sister also bought some ham & roast beef. We had chips, potato salad (made by my hubby) and TONS of desserts. My oldest brought brownies. I didn't have to make a thing!
After we ate we got down to opening some gifts. We all draw names these days. It varies year to year. Some years we do it individually but typically we do it by family. I had my brother's family who live in California. I bought his two oldest kiddos gift cards. I have no clue what to get a 17 & 20 year old! I bought his two youngest children books with necklaces. My SIL makes cards and scrapbooks so I bought her a small album & an album kit to put it all together with. I bought my brother a book called The Maine Dictionary. Oh my. It was hilarious! I almost got myself a copy. All of those items were mailed out earlier in the month with the bundle my mom sent him.
J, who will be four next month, is at such a precious age. He so enjoys the present part but did very well waiting his turn. You see, we pass out one gift at a time. Everyone watches you open it & exclaims (as appropriate) about said gift.
Why do we do it that way? Well, one is that it's way more fun & makes it all last all the longer. The biggest reason...that's how we did it growing up! I mentioned that I have four siblings. We grew up here in Maine. All of our extended family resided in Massachusetts - where my parents are from. Christmas was always just us. I remember traveling to Massachusetts perhaps twice as a child for Christmas. My mom also has a big thing about writing thank-you notes. So until we were old enough to do it ourselves, she would keep a record of who received what gift from whom in order to write appropriate thank-you notes.
One memorable Christmas morning still stands out in my mind. I think I was about 6-7 years old. My mom had received a gift & had finished opening it. The next gift was being handed off when she suddenly blurts out, "Wait a minute! No one move! I can't find my pen!!!" I look up to see my older sister rolling in laughter on the couch. I had no idea why this was funny because my mom didn't SOUND like she was laughing. Then we all looked at my mom. Who had her pen clenched in her teeth the entire time. Yeah, it was THAT funny.
So back to this Christmas. There were certainly some memorable moments to this one as well. One is how patiently N was sitting off in a corner waiting until it was his turn to open a gift.
Then there was B opening this gift from my parents. My mom had given a Lego.com gift certificate. She had wrapped it inside three successive boxes. He kept opening a box to find another wrapped box inside. He took it all very well & was very eager to get home & spend said certificate on yet more Legos!
And my mom also got all the men in the family T-shirts. They all had really funny sayings on them. My hubby received one that said "This marriage interrupted for hunting season." He was gone a lot this year for hunting. He loves it & it is a funny shirt. My BIL is a sheriff's detective. He received the shirt below. I'm not sure where my mom finds these things, but she did a great job with them!
My hubby doesn't like his photo taken, so he typically makes these weird faces at me when I snap his photo. N is still waiting patiently. I have no clue what my brother is doing - maybe it's better not to ask. That's my mom way in the background.
Oh wait - it maybe runs in the family when one receives a gift one likes! Although, this was one of my hubby's favorite gifts. It's an old-fashioned metal sign. He promptly came home to hang it up in his shop.
We had a great day with lots of food, family, laughter, & fun.