Can’t believe we’re talking Christmas here already! (We’re still in the middle of a tropical storm!!!)
Growing up in the 50s and 60s in New England, we spent Christmas with my aunt, uncle, cousins and grandparents, alternating between our home and my aunt’s. It was quite the gathering, as there were four kids in our family, and six cousins. I was always excited beyond words, it was that much fun.
Having lived so far away most of our married lives, the Christmas season has often been very difficult for me, and it took a lot of adjustment to celebrate Christmas in the usually warm, deep South, rather than New England. When our daughters came along, it was usually too difficult and expensive to fly home, and driving 1500 miles in the winter was dicey. My in-laws then started coming to visit for a week around Christmas, which was always wonderful.
Now, our older daughter and her husband generally alternate between his family and us, though now that “real life” (job responsibilities) intrudes, their visits are shorter. We are delighted that our younger daughter and husband are here in town, at least while they are in grad school, so that we can spend plenty of time with them over the holidays. DD helps me decorate our tree early in December (everyone here puts them up very early) and we put on the Christmas music. At least a couple of times during the season, we watch White Christmas (both girls and I are just love that movie!)
Most years, I hold a Christmas cookie exchange about 10 days before Christmas with a group of longtime friends, mainly from our parish. We each bake about 4 dozen of one type of cookie, and end up with about 10-12 different kinds. I serve hot cider and some hors d’oeuvres and sweets so that we don’t eat all the cookies!
During the years when everyone is in town, we generally go to Mass on Christmas Eve together, and then out to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant (one of the few places open then.) Lately, we’ve been having a leisurely, big breakfast, and then a late afternoon Christmas dinner, to accommodate our daughter’s in-laws, who do an earlier dinner and live close by, so that DD and SIL have two Christmas dinners. Our dinner is pretty much the same, year to year, as we all really love turkey (except dh, who can take it or leave it.) Turkey, gravy, a simple stuffing (dressing down here!), sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes, peas or corn, a carrot/parsnip dish of my mom’s, cranberry sauce, crescent rolls, homemade apple and chocolate cream pies…that’s pretty much the menu. I am hungry now!!!