Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve 2012 is always the highlight of my year. 

Since I was tiny, we have celebrated Christmas Eve with my Mac and Meme as well as with my cousins on the Brown side of the family.  I can't even being to describe how much fun we have together.  The laughter, the anticipation of the "girls gift" and "guys gift," the loud screams of delight, the equalizer, the togetherness over dinner, the conversations, the kids, the holiday decorations, the new babies, and just being in the moment with each of is our most priceless treasure.  We have more hilarious memories from Christmas Eve than I can even list and so many of these moments are recorded in pictures over the years. We have laughed and laughed about Christmas' past.  My heart is so very thankful for such a tight family.  We truly love one another and stand together through the good times and bad. 

Since I was iddy biddy, the tradition has always been the same.  We go to early church and then we gather together for a delicious Christmas dinner - Chicken Spaghetti, salad, rolls, and green beans.  Then all the grand kids and great grand kids stand next to Mac as we all sing "Happy Birthday Jesus."  We have a nativity scene on a Banana sheet cake and there are TONS of pies to choose from too.  I am not sure how we got hooked on Chicken Spaghetti and Banana cake, but that is the funny thing about traditions.  They just evolve.  I cannot imagine my Christmas Eve any other way!

As we have grown up, married and had babies of our own, Christmas Eve has become bigger, louder and a lot more crazy!  There are now 8 great grandchildren under 9 years old.  Mac and Meme are in their 90s and us grand kids are all grown up!  But one thing will never change.

How we adore Christmas Eve.

Once we've all finished dinner, we head for the living room where all the presents are in piles according to family members.  Before the 9 great grand kids, Christmas Eve was rather calm, easy going and orderly.  We'd all go around the room and each one a gift and proudly show it to everyone.  This was helpful because the night lasted longer and Mac and Meme could really revel in the joy and excitement that the gifts gave us.  It was also a time for Mac to distribute the "girl gift" and "boy gift."  These are always the matching gifts.  Over the years, we've seen fur coats, leather jackets, malt machines, scarves, "coats on the nail," sweaters, tote bags, towel wraps, etc.  We get such a kick out of this part of the night.....especially the year that the boys got fur jackets.  Yep.

This year, the boys all got cowboys hats.  I absolutely love this picture.  I realize what a gift it is to have my 93 year old grandparents.  This photo of Mac with the guys embodies all the pride he has for his "kids."  My Mac is beyond awesome.  He's one of kind and simply fantastic. 

The great grand kids all received matching monogrammed sweaters and hats.

As I was saying, years past were very calm and orderly.  Well now that we have 8 great grand kids and 3 of them are toddlers, you can imagine how wild our Christmas Eve has gotten!  We all sat down and an orderly opening of gifts went out the window. 

All the little people started tearing into their presents.  There were squeals of delight, kids hollering "WOW! THANK YOU SO MUCH!" parents frantically asking "who gave you that? where's the card?," paper flying around, high pitched laughter and pure joy echoed the room.

And then we all just looked at each other and said, "What just happened?"  It was over so fast!

We had an absolute ball together.  Though we celebrated together with happiness and rejoiced in our Savior's birth, there was still an emptiness in our hearts.  Aunt Ranell isn't here and it hurts.  It really, really hurts.

She is forever our angel - head chef of our Christmas Eve feast, a perfect hostess with a house full of decorations and an intense love for all things Christmas, tradition and family.  We miss her so much but find comfort in the glory of our Lord during the holiday season.  I know she is with me everyday.  I have felt her presence specific times during the last 2 years.  I am sure she was sitting there laughing along side us as we opened gifts and sang to Jesus. 

I am so thankful for my family. 


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