Monday, December 28, 2009

Where Are You, Christmas?

My Christmas was nice---but busy. We visited family in two different states in one day! Each year, we've gone to dinner (lunch) to my my sister-in-law's home (my husband's sister) in New Hampshire and enjoy a wonderful prime rib with all the fixings. We open gifts and usually spend about 3 hours there and then it's off to Massachusetts to visit with my family. It takes us about an hour to travel to NH and from there another 45 minutes to my parents. It always seems like a rushed day and I never feel as though I've truly visited and spent Christmas as it should be spent. But, I really don't want to stay home either. My husband and I discussed this the day after Christmas and are trying to come up with a different plan to see both sides of the family without feeling as though we're spending most of our day on the road!

One of my ideas is to spend Christmas Day with my parents as that's when my brothers and sisters want to get together. We could meet at noon, share a nice meal, open gifts and enjoy the day before leaving shortly after supper for our 1 1/2 hour drive home. Then, the following day we could go to my sister-in-law's for dinner. The only problem is, my sister-in-law doesn't want to create two meals within 24 hours. (She has her children and grandchildren over on Xmas day). It's just too much driving to make every one happy in one day. My parents are in their 70's and shouldn't have to make the drive north to satisfy me. just may turn out that one part of the family isn't going to see us for Christmas. I have friends who celebrate Christmas the weekend before and then on Christmas day, they spend it with other family. As mentioned a moment ago, some families I know of, spend Christmas day with one side and the day after with the other. Or, they spend it Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas Day with another. Christmas Eve wouldn't work for us as I usually have to work (2nd shift). Ahhh, decisions, decisions. Well, we have about 11 months to figure it out. Let's talk about how wonderful my Christmas day was!

After waking at 7:00 a.m., and pouring a cup of coffee, we opened gifts. These pictures I didn't upload because I will not show to anyone in blogger land what I look like in the morning! Anyway, it took a couple of hours to open our gifts and then it was a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs. From there, we got dressed to leave the house by 10:30 to get to my sister-in-law's by 11:30. Once there, we opened gifts and shared some laughs before sitting down to a delicious Prime Rib dinner! Maureen has been doing this for the last 26 years!

We normally spend about 3 hours at Maureen and Gary's before it's time to head off to my parent's house (another 45 minute drive or so) in Massachusetts. We arrived around 3:15 with most of the family already there. Now, because my family is so big, it takes awhile to say our hellos, give hugs and kisses, get a drink, some munchies and settle down in the living room before "Santa" hands out the gifts. By the time we were ready, an hour had passed. It took another 20 minutes or so to pass out gifts. Once that's done, we take turns opening our gifts so that we can admire them and give thanks to the giver. Well, as time went on and we realized how long the process of opening gifts was going to become, it was a 'free-for-all' and I felt as though I missed out on a lot. Here and there I'd here someone say, "Lori, look! Take a pic!" or "Mom. Mom. MOM!" or, "Lori, thanks! I LOVE it!" Huh? What? My head is spinning with the sounds of laughter, tearing paper, cries of delight, or the very common phrase--"Quick, take a picture!" (as though I was the only one with a camera in the room! There was so much to see that I couldn't keep up. I just snapped pictures as the afternoon went by in a blur of Christmas colors!

And then I looked around and realized I had only opened a couple of gifts. I still had to open more! By then, everyone had left the room and was in the dining room, attacking the buffet table (of which I forgot to take a picture!!) I wanted so much to take an updated photo of the family, but by then my brother Wayne had taken off. It's about 6:00 at this time. Fifteen minutes later while I'm opening gifts and my sisters and my mom are talking, in comes Michael (my husband) with news that it's snowing out (hard!) and that we need to leave---NOW!

What?! I can't leave now! I haven't finished opening my gifts! (Did I say that I d-r-a-g out opening my gifts to make the day go s-l-o-w-e-r!? Michael gets anxious when he knows he has to drive in the snow and it doesn't help that he has night blindness as well. I offered to drive, but I got "the look". At that point, Valerie and James (who had come down in her car) have just left. They have the same distance to drive as James lives about a half-mile from us.

So, I start packing, feeling as though Christmas was a rushed affair and that everyone had truly forgotten what the day was about. It was hard to leave because I don't get to see my parents that often, especially in winter. We left my parents around 7:00 that night and arrived home around 8:45. Christmas was over. I received some nice gifts, had some quality time with my family and yet, something had been missing. And I immediately thought of the song: "Where Are You Christmas?" by Faith Hill.

Perhaps it was just me. Maybe if I had just opened the gifts as quickly as the other members of my family, I would've had more time to socialize. Maybe if I wasn't so particular about what and how many pictures I needed of everyone with their gifts, I would've had more time to enjoy their company. I just wanted to slow down the day, soak it up and hold it for just a bit longer. Maybe if I could slow down time......

The next day as I uploaded my photos, I couldn't believe all the pictures I had taken. And the day came back to me. It was no longer a blur. Now, I could remember this Christmas just by looking at the pictures and I can re-live the day all over again.

So, here are a few (okay, more than a few!) photos of my Christmas Day. Enjoy!

Mmmmmm---Prime Rib dinner! A Family Tradition at Maureen's house.
My sisters Sherri and Heidi with baskets loaded with goodies from me.

My brother-in-law, Perry (Heidi's husband), admiring a birdhouse that Sherri made by hand. She made one for each family. She did an extraordinary job!
And here I am with mine!

Dad with his "Elmer Fudd" hat!! We cracked up when he put it on. He absolutely LOVES it!
Great-grampy with his great-grandson, Jackson. It's all about the hats!

This child is such a basket case!!!
A quilt made by my daughter, Valerie, for my mom--her Nanny. My mother LOVED it! We were up until 1:15 a.m. Christmas Day tying it off in order to have it ready.
Another tradition---every year, Jackie (my youngest daughter) makes No Bake Cookies aka Stupid Cookies, for my brother, Andrew. It's the one gift he looks forward to.
Jackson loved the "Jingle Bell Rock" that Santa 'sang'. He was mesmerized by Santa's moving hips!
Another tradition---Dad puts on the old Santa hat and hands out all the gifts.
Waiting patiently for my presents--LOL!
Valerie and her boyfriend, James. "It's heavy!", she said, "Wonder what's in it!"
Me and my younger brother Wayne
Me, Mom, Sherri (who gave us the scarves) and Heidi
Kayla, my neice, holding her son, Jackson who was all tuckered out!

These are a few of the many pictures I took of our wonderful, yet hectic, Christmas day. The day was enjoyable although it ended much too quickly for me. I'm always sad at the end of Christmas day. There is so much preparation, so much anticipation and then it's....gone. It just disappears in a blink of an eye. Every year, I tell myself, that I'm going to make the day worthwhile--to stretch it out and make it last as long as I can. And, it never happens the way I wish. It takes a few days for me to realize that Christmas has come and gone and now I need to look forward to a new year, with new opportunities and another Christmas!


Shinny Upatree said...

I laughed so much trying to picture you running around to see and do everything on Christmas day. It's definitely hard to squeeze it all in. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year.

T's Daily Treasures said...

I've learned that you can't please everybody and sometimes you just gotta do what is right for you. Homemade and handmade gifts are the best. I can see there are lots of creative folks in your family. NO bake cookies are one of my favorites. My aunt used to make them and every summer when I was at her house, we would go into the big freezer in the garage to dig them out and eat them up. Yummo! Have a great day! Blessings, Tammy

laterg8r said...

such a hectic day - great pics :D

Tina said...

What hectic holidays---but in the end good memories. Maybe you could try going to your folks on Christmas day, and then invite your husband's family to come to your house in the days after--you could cook dinner and then your s-i-l wouldn't have to cook twice, and you'd get a chance to celebrate at YOUR house for a change....

Katie said...

I am glad you had a wonderful, albeit very busy Christmas. I know it's a lot of driving but there is just something about seeing everyone on the actual day, isn't there. It's nice to see your family makes so many gifts for each other.