A pretty tree, silhouetted against a newly-painted terra cotta wall, and mounds of presents under and all around it, greeted us as we entered their living room, along with the raucous noises from Sammy, the sun conure, above. I can put Sammy's photo here, but I am forbidden to post photos of my kids or grandkids, so this will have to do! Sammy is pretty much a one-person bird. He loves my daughter-in-law, tolerates my son and their children - and deplores the intrusions of others (especially me and DIL's mother). He bit me on the cheek once, so I try to give him a wide berth, but he will take every opportunity to show me that I had better not come any closer! I was fully prepared to love him and scratch under his wings (which he loves) but he does not know that or care.
Dinner was set buffet style; we had ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, green beans, jello salad and rolls. Desserts were fudge, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, apple pie, a gingerbread house.....I think that is all.
After dinner, the children got to open the presents from their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. In order to avoid total chaos, we had them do it in turn, from the youngest to the oldest, which proved to be a good solution. That way, discarded wrapping papers and ribbons could be corralled quickly, in-between each child. I tried to take a lot of photos, but the camera batteries which I had just re-charged last week decided they didn't want to work much more - so I only got about 8-10 pics before they crapped out. I think it might be better to use regular AA batteries and always carry extras with me.
The rest of the evening was spent rather stuporously (is that a word?) on their Lazy Boy couches; reclined, covered in throws and blankets, dozing and periodically waking up to watch a few minutes of TV. The children went to bed after being warned not to rise until the number six appeared on the clock, and the adults soon followed them upstairs, hoping to get at least six hours of sleep before Santa's loot was found. At 6:45 am, the clarion call was heard loudly and clearly. We all descended to find that Santa had been very nice to my two grandaughters, bring them shiny, new bikes, along with other stuff. Coffee arrived soon after, and before long a steaming egg and bacon casserole with fresh, hot biscuits and jam. A wonderful start to the day! A short while later, the other grandparents arrived bearing gifts as well, and we enjoyed our visit with them. We got to see the photos from their recent trip to Japan, Cambodia and Thailand, which were fabulous. Now I want to go there too!
This Christmas, in our son's home, was one of the best our family has ever had. It is the first time that the whole family has gone somewhere other than my home (except at Thanksgiving), and I think I like it! Having done it for years, I know just how much time and preparation it takes to mount this celebration, and I am very grateful to my DIL for hosting the whole family this year. Better still, it is the very first time that no major disagreements occurred (between any adults or the children) and that is truly a miracle! I hope that your Christmas or Hanukkah celebration was the best you've ever had!