Today's tradition is from my friend in real life, Cassy!
Her blog and business is
She is truly the most artistic person I have ever met. She is always creating something. Some of my favorite memories from high school involve Cassy and crafting, sewing, or singing with her. But enough about that, on to the tradition!
Simon Family, Christmas 2012For the last decade our Christmas routine has been of little deviance from this: Christmas Eve morning we go to my husband's parents’ house and spend the day with his parents, brothers and sisters until Christmas mass at 4pm. After mass we go to my parents’ house and spend the evening with my parents and sister. We get home at about 9, and for the last few years of the decade we put our over-tired kids to bed. Then Christmas morning we spend together, opening gifts & having a nice breakfast, playing with new toys. Around 11 we'll head over to one of Paul's aunts' houses or his parents if it's their turn to host his mothers' side of the family. (We celebrate with his dad's side the Sunday before, without fail, my mother's side varies when we get together but we always do, and my dad's side gathers early in the new year.) As you can probably tell just from our 2-day Christmas routine- Family is at the center of it.
Stangler Family 2008Food is always present. I don't think that's unusual, there is someone who loves to cook in every family it seems... though let me be clear: it isn't me! I would love to eat the food that you prepare, and I'll contribute, but not more than my share! Luckily in every family combination mentioned above, there is at least 2 people who like to cook and are much better at it than I am.
Stangler Family 2012I once said to Sandy, my mother-in-law, that she didn't have to feed us two meals on Christmas Eve, we could fend for ourselves for at least one meal and I didn't want her to have to spend so much time cooking for us. She was offended. Once again, I stuck my foot in my mouth. After I explained that I didn't want to be a burden, she smiled at me and said "Cassy, I love to feed my family!" Oh. Okay. Well, I guess I love it when my family isn't hungry, but I wouldn't say that I enjoy the preparation part. I'm so glad, and so blessed, to have family members that do!
Last year my mom's side celebrated Christmas in November on the north shore.
Simon Family 2007My contribution to Christmas has always been photos. I'm the one who says "Okay everyone! Picture time!" and line everyone up for a family photo. We don't always take them in the same places; last year when we took pictures in my parent's basement with the kids' new Plasmacars was a fun switch from our usual pose on the couch. Sometimes we have extra participants, like when my cousin Frank and his family was here for Christmas or a girlfriend or boyfriend that doesn't last. We don't shy away from including these extra characters in our story; they were there on the day, so they belong in the storytelling of it.
Stangler Family 2010I do this with both my side and Paul's, and with my mom's side. My mom's side of the family is the smallest of all the extended family, and about the max for a workable number of subjects. My mom has one sister, who with her husband has 2 daughters, just like my mom. I'm the only one (until next year!) of the 4 grandkids who is married, and again, my kids are the only great grandchildren. So with my cousin's fiance, there is a total of 15 of us. My dad's side is a moving number of about 30, Paul's mom's side is about 40, and his dad's side is (yikes) around 70. And yes, they get together at Grandma Simon's house, not a social hall. That is one big pile of shoes. So you see why I don't go the distance on the group family photos for all sides: there simply isn't a couch big enough.
Simon Family 2011It's so cool to look back at the years of photos from Christmas. The kids sometimes look and smile, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes they're making funny faces. They're posed, a little bit, but they're more real than a professional session. They're a snap-shot in time on an important day. I might be lazy in the kitchen, and my culinary contributions are often the simpler dishes. I'm not the best storyteller for the family either- as I hate scrapbooking with a burning passion. But I keep pretty organized files, and back them up regularly. Recording the moments, that's my contribution to our Christmas tradition.
Ok, who's going to be taking a family picture this year now?! If you would like to share a family tradition, you will get your chance on Friday, December 13th! Come on back here for the Adventures in Tradition Link Party! WARING! Don't be confused when you come back on Monday and see that Veronica is sharing her tradition. It's another Veronica!! Veronica from Passion, Pink, & Pearls will be sharing her tradition - and it's a good one!!