As I've mentioned previously, I have a very large family. Three brothers and three sisters, all with children and some grand-children of their own. Every year we get together before Christmas for a family party. You might ask, why a party before Christmas when we're all going to be together on that day anyway? Christmas is a hectic day with everyone visiting parents, in-laws, grand-parents, comings and goings at my parent's home all day. With the party, we can all meet at the same place, same time for some relaxed fun. And oh, we do have fun.
This year's party was at the home of one of my sisters. There were thirty-four of us this year, four were missing, unable to travel back to Pennsylvania for the party. Thirty-four loud, laughing, happy people in one house. We always have the most wonderful food at these parties from appetizers to main courses to desserts and the spirits flow freely. Champagne punch, a full bar, wine and special beer. Cigars outside by the fire-pit, standing in the cold laughing and talking. Everywhere you look, smiles.
I have also mentioned before that we have a tradition that has been going on for over thirty years. Each year for the party, EVERY one in the family makes a Christmas ornament, EVERY year. From the youngest to the oldest, they've all been beautiful and some have been amazing, with lights and moving parts. My father is a carpenter and his ornaments are always the sought after ones. They are hand-crafted and intricate with much time spent in the creation of them. I've only gotten one of his, but all those I have received are treasured to this day and make an appearance each Christmas.
My six year old nephew came to the party dressed in a Santa suit and my two great-nieces, the latest additions to the family, were dressed in their holiday finery. Adorable and sweet and taking it all in with eyes filled with wonder. Memories in the making for them, never to be forgotten. All the great-aunties taking their turn holding them and introducing them to new sights and sounds. Whispering and singing softly into their ears. We played games, ate, drank, posed for photos, opened gifts, cried at times, laughed and ate again.
By the end of the evening the adults were happy but tired and the children were happy and fueled by the sugar from cookies and candy. Please enjoy the slide show below as a little peek into the party of the year for my family. For family members who are reading, more photos will be added as I receive them. As you can see, a good time was had by all. And no, I'm not in any of the photos ;-)