We faced Christmas with mixed emotions this year. We mourn the loss of Mike's dad, share concern for those less fortunate, and rejoice in celebration with family. Today, the day after, has been a time for me to simply relax and luxuriate in a way. Mike was off to work - AGAIN and Toby and I had the house to ourselves. It has been quiet and restful. That was just what was needed after all the reveling.
Our celebration started off last Saturday when we joined Mike's extended family. His mother and her sister have traditionally gathered all their family together for a feast. It has grown into a pot-luck affair since the children and grandchildren are grown. So, if a person simply tastes everything on the buffet, that is a heaping plate!
The grown folks are chatty and the children are boisterous and everybody seems to have a really good time of feasting and fellowship. We gather at Mike's mother's house upon the hill across the pasture from us. This is the view off our back porch:
She has plenty of room for us all to spread out and sit at a table to dig into the delicious dishes everybody contributes. She and Miss Peg (Mike's aunt) and Mr. Frank (Mike's uncle) did the set up and provide the backbone of the meal. Peg and Frank's son, Jacky, came early to help cook the country ham. Mr. Frank was the primary slicer of the turkey and the ham. There was potato salad, green beans, squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, creamed corn, rolls, corn-light-bread, cranberries, pies, cakes, dessert squares, cookies, and lots more. I ate so much I could hardly breathe!
There were cousins and nephews and a niece and children galore in attendance. Some perched in the dining room, some in the farmhouse kitchen at a couple of tables, some up in the bonus room with the children and babies, and some in the sunroom. We ate and laughed and talked and ate and laughed and talked.
Then, on Sunday afternoon, Mike and I hosted our family. I cooked most of the day on Saturday and set the tables. Then, Sunday morning bright and early I was up heating the food I'd cooked and cooking some more. (I did let Mike squeeze into the kitchen to cook up some sausage and biscuits for breakfast!) Bridgette, Corey, Lillie, Lydia, Stephen, and Bonnie came for a late lunch after church. We feasted on smoked ham, yeast rolls, sweet potato casserole, squash casserole, mac and cheese, green beans, cranberry salad and a plethora of sweets that the daughters brought. I ate so much I could hardly breathe!
We gathered in the den and exchanged gifts.
drawnames.com and I could check in and see their lists. It made my shopping easier - especially after I decided not to just get the guys the same things and the gals the same things. I figured they might want something different from a set of wrenches or a personalized bag from Thirty One. So, I checked their lists and checked them twice...
Kobalt that Corey is checking out. Mike had seen it advertised on TV and thought every guy on our list needed one - I think he must have wanted one himself!
Origami Owl necklace all the daughters got.
Mudd Puddles Pottery I ordered for her. It did turn out beautifully.
The next morning, we gathered at Mike's mother's for a breakfast of country ham, eggs, sausage balls, gravy, biscuits, hash brown casserole, and sweet rolls. Mike's brother, Jim, and his entire family came as well as Mike's two children and their families. We gifted each of the youngsters and then played a game of Dirty Santa with gifts for the adults. There were a couple or three hot items - a griddle, a set of tools, a cooler. So, some folks had the opportunity to choose a gift more than once. Mostly, we all simply shared a good time.
We also got to share our gifts with Mike's daughter Laura and her children.
All-in-all, we had a very blessed holiday. How fortunate we are to be able to shower one another with gifts and share time together over-indulging in delicious foods! The memories of these good times will last forever and our gratitude for our many blessings can never be fully expressed. I hope you and yours made life-long memories to treasure and reveled in abundance as well!