It's still amazing to me that in spite of busy schedules we're able to find time to gather together for such a special weekend as this last one. All my siblings and their families together in the same house we were raised in; we had a great weekend together.
Christmas is no slouchy affair for my parents - they go all out. That doesn't mean that spend half a fortune buying our happiness either - though they are quite generous. It means my mom will be planning menus days in advance, cleaning and decorating guest rooms and the rest of the house in holiday cheer and wrapping packages with elaborate ribbons and fine touches. It means my dad will spend enormous amounts of time on the roof, in the trees, and around the yard bringing the north pole to Texas - complete with a life-size sleigh, cookie house, and other decor gathered or made through the years. They are even known to have Santa and Mrs. Claus themselves come over to visit the grandkids. This is serious stuff.
Christmas comes with a complete schedule, though the young babies in the family dictated it more than usual this year. We have reindeer games which consist of Minute To Win It type games with a touch of holiday flair or whatever creative fun games we or my parents come up with. Fun abounds.
For our gifts this year we did a gift exchange, each buying a $5-$10 gift that in some way represented us, but would still make a good gift for someone. This was a major highlight of the weekend for me. It was fun to see what people came up with, and we all ended up with some good gifts and learned a few unique new things about each other. I learned about a game called spotlight my dad played as a kid, and have a new flashlight set that was my prize gift as a result. My mom went all out sharing stories through four small gifts in one, each representing one of her grandparents. A bag of peanuts for the grandpa who took her hunting for "goober-peas," always teaching her something new, and so on. My brother ended up with that one, though we will all took home part of that gift and many of the others in our hearts.
Balancing traditional experiences (like reading the story of Jesus birth) with new fun ideas every year makes this time together priceless. Here are a few pictures of our weekend:
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!