My Christmas officially started on December 19th with our annual family Christmas party.
We had 26 people at my place..... 20 adults and 6 children.
This was my first year for hosting it and it was so much fun.
The little ones rearranged my decorations, carrying around my little singing Christmas trees and giving me the fun of locating my sets of things (reindeer, nativity, novelties) again after they went home.
My place not being all that big, we where not able to actually sit around the table. So everyone just grabbed a plate, loaded up and found a place to settle down and enjoy.
The gift exchange was fun with the little ones eagerly passing gifts to everyone. At which time someone starts balling up the wrap and tissue paper and trowing it at each other. I am still finding it behind and under things!
After that our family plays a fun game where everyone brings a fun gift...be it something old, or just weird or actually useful, then a # is drawn and if it is yours you get to pick one. If you like it you hang on to it, or if you saw something someone else had that you like you take that instead and they get to open a new one. After all the gifts are taken, #'s go back in the hat and it starts again, giving you one last chance to exchange what you have for something else. The noise and laughter is at high decibels as everyone enjoys the fun!
On the 23 for the very first time we did the Christmas pickle tradition! I hid it and it took them 10 min and several "your hot" & "your cold" hints my son found it and the first gift of Christmas was opened by him. (new family game) It was so enjoyed that we decided that it is now going to be an annual event here.
With just me and my "Kids" (they are all over 20 now!") we open our gifts on Christmas eve slowly. By that I mean it can take us all day depending on how many there are to open. One gets opened when we all get up, then we have breakfast and clean up and another gets opened. We have a few rounds of a game until someone tired of loosing, says "lets open another one!" The day continues in this way until all but the gifts from Oma are opened. The gifts from my mom, their Oma get opened on Christmas morning.
Normally we attend the Christmas eve candlelight service at church, but with 1/2 of us sick we decided it would be best to stay home and not pass it around.
Christmas morning everyone runs down to discover Santa stopped by and there is now more than just the gifts from my mom/ Oma under the tree and everyone jumps right in and egerly opens them all.
This is followed by breakfast and a day to just relax, enjoy snacks, a few games and a movie or two.
Then the feast starts....turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, roasted carrots and parsnips etc. A good bottle of wine to top it all off, the candles are lit and after giving thanks, the feasting begins.
Later on after the feast has been cleared away we enjoy dessert. This year it was a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and homemade marshmallows. Of course, followed by another game!
The day ended with the watching of A Christmas carol.