Christmas is all about family. And, we all know that family extends beyond the four walls of our everyday living. So, every Christmas we drive 100 miles each way to my younger sister’s house for the day. We contribute three semi-grown children, each two years apart. Then there are my three sisters, each of whom I love more than the next. We share a mother who is about a perfect a person as was ever created. I have a niece and nephew who are the same ages as two of my kids and a hopefully-soon-to-be nephew-in-law who pours cocktails with a heavy hand. My sister-in-law comes when she can and when she does documents the event with great candid shots. My ever-loving loving spouse brings calm to our chaos and exhibits great displays of patience for all of us. The father-in-law and his significant other, who we love like no other, come for Thanksgiving but graciously send good wishes and hefty checks for Christmas. The circle has started spinning again with an adorable two year-old grand-niece who doesn’t care how much we don’t spend on her. Sometimes a friend of one or all of us will join us for dinner.
It’s not a huge group, but it’s a loud one. Some of us spend the day vying for attention, while others are content to cook or clean up. The meal is always gourmet and the spirit bright.
Christmas is for kids.
And my sisters and I have never really gotten over being kids. Even though we’re middle-aged and can theoretically afford to buy our own glass popcorn poppers and orange down vests from Lands’ End, we would much rather have them given to us. The youth of the group don’t share our vision and so, as aunts we have learned to give them money or gift cards which are opened with quick but genuine enthusiasm.
Long after the kids have lost interest, my sisters and I keep opening and opening. One at a time, we go round the circle, oohing and ahhing and being so very thankful to receive the gifts we simply could not live without. And when it’s over, we pack up our cars with more bags than we came with and tote everything back home. The next day I’m always surprised when I do inventory – rediscovering presents I forgot I had even received.
Ah, yes. Christmas is for kids.
But, the way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with being a 55 year-old kid.
your family traditions are great. remember you each picked a name for the stocking… I remember the cool gifts you gave me… the orange covered with cloves that hung by a gold cord, the yellow 'Philadelphia get to know us' mug … and, of course, the gumball machine that you needlepointed and put in a red wood frame.