I grew up in a pretty big family. I am the oldest of 4. My mom is one of 10, including step- and half-siblings. My dad is one of 6.
I have enough aunts and uncles and cousins to fill a small town. At Christmastime, we all would have a series of parties for each set of family members. It made for quite the month.
Christmas Eve was always celebrated at my mom’s cousin Marilyn’s house. We would eat and exchange presents and visit with everyone. This was definitely the most formal of our Christmas events. We always wore something nice.
Wow, we’re having too much fun! Not sure what year this is, but I’m guessing that I’m about nine or so – maybe 1985? Judging by our clothes, that might fit, give our take a couple of years.
I’m on the right, sticking my tongue out and pointing at something. My cousin is next to me. What on earth did they dress us in? The late 70′s style must have been super short dresses. Poor Steph appears to be wearing a furry bib which is attached to her dress. Oh my!
One of the weekend’s before Christmas, we would get together with my dad’s side of the family- usually at our house or at one of my uncle’s. Completely different kind of party. Piles of food, including my Aunt Colleen’s fudge – yum! Alcohol. Rowdiness. We would do a gift exchange (we drew names at Thanksgiving). There were way too many people to buy for, so this made it easy.
Christmas morning was always just our immediate family. We’d wake up bright and early and tear open our presents.
From about the time I was 13 and on, we would head to my maternal grandpa’s house in the afternoon. My mom’s parents were divorced and I actually didn’t meet him until I was almost in high school. He only lived an hour from us my entire childhood and I really barely knew of his existence. It makes me sad to think of all the years I didn’t get a chance to know him.
Anyway, we would head to his house for yet another Christmas party with that side of the family. I was so happy to have tons of added cousins around my age.
All of these parties were of course in addition to the school functions and sometimes a friend’s party also. It made for a very festive month. By the time Christmas season was over, we were exhausted!