There were a few changes to our traditional Christmas activities this year, but many remain intact and perhaps new ones were developing to take the place of the ones being left in the past. For example, I am confident that the friends holiday feast will become an annual event, as it was so thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.
One change to this year's festivities was how we celebrated Christmas Eve. Traditionally, my husband's paternal uncle and aunt have hosted a large family party with a dollar gift exchange and a spectacularly decadent dessert. However, after retiring this year they opted to spend their holiday in Arizona with two of their sons and their grandchildren (and who could begrudge them that?). So my husband's parents decided to invite a smaller group of family members over for a big fried fish dinner from our local fish frying establishment. We marveled at the enormous tree (11-12 feet) and joked about how they were going to have to saw it into pieces to get it back outside. We played the dollar gift game, of which I am decidedly NOT a fan. I can play along though and intentionally "forgot" the cheap crap at their house when we left. Ha!
On Christmas morning we drove back over to his family's house to watch the kids open their gifts from Santa. His parents share a house with his sister and her husband and their four kids, who somehow managed to wait until we arrived at 8:00AM before tearing into their piles of presents. The opening was accomplished with typical swiftness and before long we were heading back home to shower and prepare for the next part of the day.
Shortly after 11:00AM we made our way to my parents' house. My step-mom is undergoing yet another round of chemo and is too weak to stand around the kitchen preparing a big meal, so my husband had volunteered to pitch in (love that man). My father had done all the grocery shopping and went a little hog-wild buying ludicrous amounts of food. For the first time ever we didn't even come close to finishing the shrimp cocktail and I didn't even bother opening four of the fancy cheeses he bought. We also elected to skip the brussel sprouts and the bacon wrapped scallops. Cooking and cleaning up are always more of a challenge in someone else's kitchen and not something I'm super comfortable with (probably because I wouldn't want anyone doing much of either in my kitchen). Naturally the best part of the whole day was watching my three year old nephew take delight in handing out and opening presents. So cute! So smart! So funny! Not that I'm biased or anything.
We still have another round of celebrations to look forward to when my mom and her husband come to visit at New Year's. There will be more presents and more eating and best of all- the visiting. Hopefully, I will have kicked this stupid cold to the curb by then.
I do hope that however everyone celebrated their holidays they were full of happiness and good cheer.