When Greg and I got married, we tried to blend our families traditions together. Some worked and some did not. We decided to stay in Miss. for Christmas and do our visiting afterwards, which is the best for us (especially now that we have girlfriends of the boys in the mix). This was our 3rd Christmas at home...the 1st one was rough, I had never not seen my Mom on either Christmas Eve or Day. The last 2 years we've been at our house and its worked out great. It is much less stressful than trying to pack everything plus 7 kids in the car(s) and travel to GA.
Christmas Eve we all got up (Katie, Will and Amy + Rob) and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We weren't the only people who thought it was a good idea ~ the place was packed. Then we ran into the hardware/whatever store on the way home for 2 gifts ~ that we decided that morning we needed to purchase. And then headed to Kroger for a few last minute things...giving 6 folks different items to find is a quick way to shop. James joined us late afternoon and the kids hooked the Wii up for several hours of "games". James gave Katie a Winter Sports game and watching them play this was funny. We had a 27, 23, 17, 16, & 14 year old all playing and having a great time. Dinner was egg rolls, meatballs, jalepeno poppers, pigs in a blanket & pizza rolls. A delicious, easy, heat and eat dinner of snack foods. Then we watched "The Christmas Story" ~ the first time Greg had ever seen it from beginning to end. Bedtime was late and Greg & I got out all the stocking stuffers and gifts for the tree.
I had told the kids not to wake up before 8 (I am the mean mom ~ I like to sleep). At 8:10 there was a knock on the door from Amy informing me of the time ~ a polite way of saying...Get out here so we can open gifts (everything is wrapped and no peeking till the parents and the camera are there). Greg's rule is 1 gift at a time, which I have come to love. They open, can thank the person, and really appreciate the gift. Under the tree was packed between the gifts from us and theirs to each other (lots with 7 kids). Some are little, some are big, all are appreciated. Amy's big gift was a computer program for her Cricut diecut machine, Katie's was a camera, and Will's was a robot building kit. The girls also got lots of arts and crafts supplies for fair projects and keeping hands busy. Will got tools and models. The big boys all got different stuff and some money. Their stuff was car jacks, tools, or whatever ~ all needed. Greg and I shop all year long and love the Belks "lets get rid of stuff sales ~ 50-75% off the clearance prices" ~ so all the kids got shirts and the girls got new skirts also. Greg bought me books & DVD's from Vision Forum and a Serger ~ I've got a new toy to learn how to use! He got a blu ray player and a new toy for the outdoor kitchen he is building this summer.
James cooked breakfast for all of us ~ a casserole with eggs, hashbrowns, onions, bacon & sausage in it...sure was good. Then we had shrimp & grits, steaks, and potatoes for lunch. Andy & AmyKate got here in time for lunch after being with her parents all morning. As soon as lunch was over and the kitchen cleaned, the Wii came out again for more game playing. The afternoon was spent playing games, reading, watching videos, and having fun together. I declare dinner was fix your own and clean up after yourself...worked great!
Sunday morning we had an awesome service! It was great for all the kids to be at church with us. After lunch, it was "undeck" the halls time. We have it all done and put up!
Tuesday, we are headed to Moms and Friday, Greg and I are driving to Charleston.
Sat. morning we board a cruise ship and head to the hopefully warm, sunny Bahamas!
The ONLY depressing time during the holidays was Christmas day when Allen wasn't here. He couldn't get off work on the 2 days surrounding Christmas. He ate breakfast with some friends of ours in GA and then lunch at Mom's with the cousins. I can't wait to see him on Wed. ~ he is gonna love his gift!