Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Traditions

We live more than 1000 miles away from our parents.   However, when both sets of parents live in the same county, married children don't have to alternate spending Christmas with one side on the odd years, and with the other side on the even years.  We are lucky that we can see everyone.

Sometimes it's a mixed blessing because we're in the car a lot.  Driving back and forth isn't too bad when there is no snow, and we are certainly lucky to be able to see everyone in one trip.  While we're unable to keep every tradition for both of us, I like to think we've done a decent job of blending them together.

Christmas Eve my family goes to Mass at 5pm.   It's the Children's Mass, which used to be absolutely adorable with children processing holding animals, telling the Christmas story (complete with giraffes in the manger) and singing many carols.   It's changed a bit and now a lot of kids are still there, but are no longer performing.  Going with Michael now guarantees we will hear a male voice singing Christmas songs, which is rather lovely!

Michael's family always eats lasagna for dinner on Christmas Eve.   Theresa and Ray join us (Theresa always makes the best salad!), and ML provides the peppermint dessert.  Basically chocolate, graham crackers and pink mint ice cream.  Yeah.  It's delicious.   Most years (at least since I've attended, starting in approximately 2002), we play a game.   My favorite part of the game playing is when my father in law shouts "Julia is on my team!"  I also enjoy when our team happens to win, as was the case this year.  Check out our enthusiasm, especially Mario's thumbs up- we couldn't have done it without Theresa and Michael.  

2011 was particularly lovely because for the first time since 2008, Marissa was home for dinner, along with Howie!  And Mario's parents were there too, making the table full with 10 chairs!

Christmas morning, in both our homes, always meant lots of presents.  We now spend the night at Michael's parents' house, open gifts in our PJs, eat a big breakfast, and then head over to my parents' house for small family presents, followed by dinner with at least 20.   Among other items, this year, dinner included ham and turkey and cheesy potatoes!   Midwesterners will know that this ridiculous dish of frozen hashbrowns, cheese, campbell's soup, and cornflakes is both ridiculous and amazingly good.   It should be consumed annually, though I don't remember the last time I had it...  Erica and I did a little dance when we saw it on the buffet.

Every year we take a Lasky cousin picture.   This is our photo from 2011 and FINALLY Anthony and I (the tallest 2) are not sitting on the darn floor.

The entire day is quite the raucous time.  We have dinner, open gifts, chat, eat snacks and appetizers, play games, sing Christmas carols around the piano, and enjoy everyone's company.  At times, the decibel level is at least 80!   And we wouldn't have it any other way

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