Christmas Photos and Memories of 2023

 Our Christmas celebrations started on the 23rd. We went to my father in law's house. His wife cooks up a huge breakfast/brunch for us all.  Us parents eat in one room and all the grandkids eat with the grandparents in another room; it's a tradition that was started when the kids were younger and we all outgrew the dining room. 

Sitting around, talking, and waiting for lunch to be ready

After eating we open gifts starting with the youngest grandchild and working our way up to the oldest. Each child finds their own under the tree (the gift with their photo on it!) and then opens it before the next one gets up.  Once all the kids are done, the adults exchange small gifts in no particular order.


The last few years we've been trying to get better at taking photos of the grandkids and grandparents in front of the tree but I don't think we've had a year yet where everyone has made it; we were so close this year with one grandchild missing. 


My father in law can be like a kid sometimes and here he's hiding behind my nephew giving him bunny ears in the photo


Christmas eve we went to my mother's house and we tried something new this year with everyone bringing a gift (or two) for a Yankee swap.  We began our night playing a few card games waiting for our dinner. We played a round of Gathering of the Wicked and my team won in just 2 short rounds! 



We ate our pizza and then played several rounds of Pitch before getting to the Yankee swap.  First up was the group of kids. Anyone that brought a "kids" gift picked a number 1-6 and began opening and swapping.  




After the kids played anyone that brought an adult gift picked a number 1-10 and began opening gifs. I  had number 2 but didn't manage to hold onto my gift for very long.  By the end of the night I ended up coming home with some delicious toffee and flavored popcorn sets. 


We ended our night playing the candy cling wrap balls-- again we have two; one for kids and one for adults. 



Christmas day the boys were all up and ready to open gifts by 7 or 7:30 so we headed down to the basement and it took us longer than I thought it would to open gifts. Everyone had far fewer gifts but no one seemed like they were in a rush to open and really inspected what they opened. Ian wrapped his gift cards to Evan in like 4 or 5 different boxes within the larger box so that was funny to watch Evan open. 

We always start with stockings and open those at the same time since there is a lot of overlap into what they'll find inside. 

Ian opening his gift from Evan while Evan opens his gift from Ian (though we try to only have 1 opening a gift at a time sometimes the boys have other ideas)

Evan struggling to open Ian's gift while Ian laughs uproariously

Onto the second box... where he found 3 more boxes inside! 

After presents Alec and I got started on breakfast. He had made us croissants and just had to pop them in the oven while I made some cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon.  I forgot to take photos but the croissants were delicious!  We had one leftover that I managed to snap a quick photo of.


We went to visit my mother in law in the hospital around lunch time and then hung out at home until dinnertime when we headed to my brother in law's house for dinner and a few final gifts.  My sister in law had quite the spread with ham, broccoli, green beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread casserole, sweet potato casserole, a chocolate peanut butter trifle... it was delicious! We brought over some homemade rolls that Alec delivered warm and fresh from the oven, some mashed potatoes, and a chocolate peanut butter pie. 

We played Tellestrations, Blank Slate, and Pitch. 

sorry it's so blurry but it's the only photo I took all night! 

Linking up with: Thinking Out Loud, Thankful Thursdays, Spread the Kindness, 




Comments

  1. Your celebrations all look like they were wonderful- with time spent together having fun and eating delicious food. The decor in our father in law´s house is so pretty- very festive and it looks great for a good sized gathering.

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    1. Thank you! That is their 3-seaon room and is probably my favorite room in their house (they added heating and radiant heat flooring to make it a 4 season room).

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  2. So much fun! I'm sorry your MIL was in the hospital - that really stinks. I love the games with the gifts!

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    1. She was in the hospital from the 20th until yesterday afternoon; we're hopeful they figured out the problem and she's home to stay now.

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  3. I loved reading about this! I enjoyed those pictures of your boys opening gifts. I love seeing their smiles and hearing about their laughs. I know you must love that as their mom! I smiled when I saw your flip flops in one of your pictures...we have that in common. I wear them all the time when I'm at home, unless it's freezing, and then I wear slippers. Thanks for linking up today!

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    1. Yes, I was thrilled it was warm enough for flip flops this Christmas; that so rarely happens!

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  4. It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas, with lots of family time. Sounds good!

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  5. We also open gifts one at a time, because I like everyone to be able to appreciate each gift individually! The Saran Wrap game was so fun this year; we're definitely going to be repeating it next year!

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    1. My boys (and nephews too!) tear into that thing like they have a million dollars waiting for them in the middle! It's a riot.

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  6. Beautiful memories.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  7. Looks like an amazing time filled with lots of QT!

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    1. It sure was.. and so low key and relaxing (well, other than worries about my mother in law).

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  8. What a meaningful Christmas you all had! We have some traditions that we've kept strong through the years and some that we modify almost yearly. The younger generations are having more of a say now, and keeping things fresh. :)

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    1. Yes, we find the traditions often change due to the input of the younger generations too.

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  9. Wow - so much good eating over the holidays!! And a lot of fun playing games. Some (most) of those I have never heard of! I need to check them out. Great memories!!

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    1. Thanks! We learned a lot of new games this year. But they were a lot of fun.

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  10. You had lots of fun! I haven't done a gift exchange like that for years, will have to remember to find an opportunity next year.

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    1. We hadn't done one since our boys were little and just the adults participated so it was fun now that they were older and everyone could participate.

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  11. I'm glad your MIL is finally home.
    That room at your FIL's home is beautiful. It looks like a sunroom.

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    1. Thank you! It was such a relief; but she is understandably tiring quite quickly so we're all still pitching in as much as she'll let us!

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  12. What lovely family celebrations!

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  13. Dang, now I'm hungry, LOL. I love how you guys play games.
    XOXO
    Jodie

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    1. LOL; sorry! This is the first time we played SO many games and it made for such a fun holiday.

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  14. What a great Christmas you had!
    The gift swap at your mother's sounds like fun and Ian's gift for Evan too. hehehe

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    1. We had a great time playing and exchanging and laughing. My brother brought a gift that made lots of noise and had us all nearly convinced that he had brought a live animal to exchange! (he left air holes and everything!)

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  15. What special memories! We spent Christmas Day with Jon's family and we must've spent 3 hours opening presents. My family I usually done in an hour haha

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    1. I don't even think we spent 3 hours with any one family from start to finish; including eating! LOL

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  16. Joanne,
    Thanks so much for stopping by!! Looks like you all had a wonderful Christmas!!! We do not do presents anymore....We give money and gift cards...And with my DIl trying not to go into labor before she was scheduled for the induction to give birth to the twins, it was a quiet Christmas this year....I am sure next year will not be so quiet as the twins will be almost a year old....Happy New Year and thanks so much for stopping by!!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Oh yes, I am sure that next Christmas will be a bit louder! LOL But it will be wonderful.

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  17. Your family celebrations look so fun! I need to check out the games you played because I haven't heard of them. Hope you are having a good start to 2024!

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  18. What fun. We prayed the saran wrap game for New Year's. We love that game.
    Blessings, Dawn

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    1. I don't usually play but I do enjoy watching everyone else; my family seems to take it quite seriously!

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  19. We had only one family gathering this year, but I remember years of going from one place to another. I think it works really well that you do different things at different homes. Happy Holidays, Joanne!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I'm just thankful we're down to only a few gatherings.. we used to have a good 6 or 7 and it was so hard to squeeze everyone in; especially when the boys were little and in car seats!

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  20. You have wonderful family traditions. What a beautiful spot for your first holiday with all that light. I love the idea of one-at-a-time, youngest first! And games are always such fun to play. It looks like a terrific holiday.

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  21. I love these traditions of the pictures, eating with grandparents, opening presents and that Christmas Day menu sounds delicious! Y'all have such a fun family!

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  22. Sounds like lots of good family time, although I'm sorry you had to fit a hospital visit in there. My, you wake up early on Christmas morning. We didn't start our morning until 9:15 and didn't get to gift opening until 10:30.

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    1. Ha, they slept in so late this year! LOL. We used to tell them no earlier than 6!

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  23. I love all of the family pictures! I'm so sorry your MIL was in the hospital on Christmas, though. I know that must have been tough for all of you. I have been thinking about her.

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    1. Thank you! She is back home now and seems to be doing much better.

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