On the First Day of Christmas

December19

Our first family Christmas of the season has come and gone.  It was a whirlwind of embraces, teasing, laughter and more embraces.  D’s family is knit together by one amazing women. 

Grandma J came home one day from her son’s basketball game to find that her husband had packed a bag and left.  She had no job, very little education and seven kids to fend for.  So she went looking for a job doing the only thing that she really knew how to do-cook for a crowd.

Fast forward thirty years and J is now remarried, spending her summers visiting various family members, kids and  grandkids and her winters in Texas.  If anyone deserves a quiet retirement it is Grandma J.  But J is not yet retired-she makes Christmas her full-time occupation.  She will start shopping for Christmas 2012, today.

We sat the dining room with three banquet tables (another 12 were sat up on the 2nd floor)

Six members of the family were not present this year and I am sure that she mailed those off to Phoenix last week.  The rest of us (32 to be exact) each opened a very large box and inside were a number of other little wrapped packets.  Mine included a book and book mark, a scented candle, bath gel, an embroidered nightgown and an aloe plant with a hand carved hovering hummingbird.  Imagine going to this much trouble with this much thoughtfulness, for 34 people! 

Part of the gang filing downstairs for grace

Another amazing thing about this year’s Christmas story was that we all fit into our just purchased 100 year old house.  I think D saw us gathered there before we had even signed the offer to purchase.

So this year it wasn’t so much about the secret ingredients in the stuffing (pecans and apricots) or the pumpkin, apple and pecan pies that Grandma J bakes and drives in from the county in a specially designed pie rack.  It was about being together in one place, each of us opening packets of love and remembering the reason for the season.

Kath’s quote: “This aniversary is memorable (apart from all religious significance) because it evokes a great slaughter of turkeys, geese and all kinds of game, a wholesale massacre of fat oxen, pigs and sheep; they envisage garlands of black puddings, sausages and saveloys . . . mountains of plum-puddings and oven-fulls of mince-pies….       On that day no one in England may go hungry …. This is a family gathering, and on every table the same menu is prepared. A joint of beef, a turkey or goose, which is usually the pièce de résistance, accompanied by a ham, sausages and game; then follow the inevitable plum-pudding and the famous mince pies.”-Alfred Suzanne

A gift of love was delivered to all mankind 2000 years ago


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