Another thing I love about where I live is that if you go out the front door, cross the field, take a short walk through the woods down an old logging road and you will come to Grandma & Grandpa's house! (Aren't my kids SO blessed!) Grandma is always close by to ooh and ahh right when you need her to, like when TheLittlestPrincess got her ears pierced a few weeks ago, and Grandpa is always passing out the jelly beans and giving baseball pointers.
How to celebrate Christmas has never been a solid issue around our house. I grew up celebrating it, Mr.Potts' family didn't...druids and all that. So we didn't get a tree, then we did (there was that time we cut down 3 puny trees from the woods and tied them together because we were too cheap to buy one..ha), then we didn't, now we are thinking of getting one again. We're sporadic like that sometimes. Not at all proper to the poor relatives, I know. A short article in World magazine got me thinking it over again. And then there is the DHM's post over at The Common Room and you can find quite a trail from there to many other variations on how Christians celebrate the holiday. One may demand that it be about all about Jesus' birth and another may insist on not connecting that event to it at all. We are too lazy to research the matter for ourselves, or maybe we just don't care enough. So we ride every wind of Christmas doctrine. And this year, the prevailing wind seems to be in favor of celebrating.
Anyway...over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go...because that is where we celebrate Christmas. My sister's family and mine come to Grandma's house on Christmas eve packed with jamas and all twelve grandchildren, ready to spend the night. We dress up and take family pictures. Each of the three families bring a favorite meal and we have a marvelous spread! We cook so much so we don't have to the next day, instead we eat all of the yummy leftovers, except for Grandpa's meatballs which never last that long. :(
After we get the kids to bed, we get out the ancient stockings and fill them with goodies. The adults stay up late laughing and talking and drinking coffee and hot chocolate. The kids sleep in the basement where it is quite dark so we don't have to worry about being awakened too early by excited children.
To combat the insanity that would result if we all tried to by each person a present, we draw names so we each have one person to focus on. It is supposed to be a secret but I get so many requests for present ideas I always figure it all out. So, we get up and one at a time starting with the youngest, and open presents. With eighteen people, this makes the gift giving last quite a while because we all enjoy watching other people get their gifts. This year I know Mr. Potts got me and I hear rumor it's a fantastic present??? Though of course, I wouldn't dream of manipulating it out of the children.
After presents comes the stockings. Then we eat breakfast. The rest of the day we lay around (1/2 the time in our pajamas) and play games and do whatever we feel like. We don't have any incredible traditions, we just love to hang out together. Usually Christmas Day eve rolls around and we are still there. Some have even been known to stay a second night.
We are so excited about the gifts we are giving this year. Can't wait to post pictures when it's safe to let the secrets out! Now if we could just get some snow!