Our weeklong trip to Maryland this December included the annual family get together for Christmas. My mom’s side of the family is fairly large, and a lot of us have jobs that require working on Christmas Day, such as servers/bartenders, nurse/hospital worker, weatherman, and UPS employee. We decided years ago to have our celebration the weekend before or after Christmas, just so that everyone could attend.
Christmas is by far my favorite holiday. Despite not being a fan of the cold, a white Christmas surrounded by family really gets me in the feels. This year, granted, the days leading up to our party were a balmy 55 degrees, but it still felt like Christmas. Now that we’re getting older, it harder for people to get together all at once- we’ve moved apart, people have gotten married and have other family parties to attend, or we may not make the effort. But family is one of the most important things in my life, and it’s worth every penny flying back for the holidays, even for a short trip. Also, losing two grandparents within the past two years was tough for me, so anytime I can see the two I have left I jump at the chance because you never know when it’s going to be the last time.
Our party started around noon and most people had arrived by 1pm. We had all sorts of dips, cheeses, crackers, chips and snacks to munch on, plus plenty of “adult beverages.” Two of my cousins are still very young, so my Aunt Jeanne has several holidays games that we play with prizes that conveniently, Katie and Kara always win. Everyone also always has a stack of scratch off lottery tickets so it’s exciting to find out who the big winner is every year. My Uncle Mike won $500 one time! Gift giving is spaced out between games and snacks, we have an adult Pollyanna and a white elephant gift exchange, and then we get ready for dinner.
My mom hosted the party this year and was busy baking and getting the meal ready days beforehand. We had pulled pork sandwiches, French chicken, meatballs, mac and cheese, an Asian salad, quinoa, broccoli cheese and crackers (my mom’s specialty and a top request at every get together), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and pickles. Dessert was cookies, cupcakes and a little birthday cake since we were also celebrating 5 December birthdays. I ate way too much as usual; Julio and I both need to get back on our Thailand diet when we get back to San Diego!
Overall, the party was loud, crazy and wonderful, everything I hope for in a family gathering. We got to see people we haven’t seen in months, or a year, since the last family Christmas, so it was great to get together and celebrate this special holiday together.