It started with everyone gathering on Christmas Eve for dinner and games. I think it was started to keep us kids calm and entertained in anticipation of the morning to come. I remember putting chick legos together, searching for the pickle ornament in the tree, board games, and loads of food. As my cousins and I have aged, the nightly events have changed, the fun and hysterical things that my mom and aunts came up with got even better. We started with 11 of us, then us kids added spouses bringing the total up to 16. My grandma now attends, and now there is a whole new generation, as some of us kids have had our own kids, which means we now have to fit a whopping total of 25 - which is sure to grow as we are waiting for 2 of my cousins to add little ones. Luckily, not everyone can always make it. This year, we had 22 in total. We officially doubled our numbers, yet have not doubled our space.
some of the table is hidden under my camera!
Some years its crazy sunglasses, some years - shoot I can't even remember! - this year, crazy hat contest. Reily didn't really enjoy this game too much.
He even won!
My two cousins come from a long line of very tall individuals on their father's side. Both of them are at least 6' 5", if not taller - I lost track when I got shooed to the end of the line for the short people. Jon's son Nathan is only a mere 2 months 10 days older then Reily, you would never guess that when they are next to each other!
My Beautiful Mom, Grandma, Aunt Connie, and Aunt Billie - the masterminds of this tradition and the pillars of the family. We all love you!
Grandma (aka Great Grandma now), Connie, my mom, Billie
It was total mayhem when the little one's tore into their gifts! But it was a lot of fun to watch!
I'm not sure if we will make it next year, I sure hope so. I am hoping our upcoming move will be to the East Coast, which will make it a lot easier to attend. I even hope to take over the reigns one year and host it in our own home. Course, I guess we need to plan on buying a place that has a very large great room to fit all these people! That's my family, we are quirky and a whole lot of fun!