My oldest child is from my first marriage. My husband’s parents are divorced and remarried (or committed). This makes for a very LARGE amount of people when trying to plan family get functions. Holidays are the worst- but not necessarily in a bad way. However, holidays can be a stressful time when there are this many people around. After all these years, we still don’t have a great system. But when everyone is willing to work together planning for the holidays, it makes it much easier.
This year we chose to do Christmas with MY family on the Saturday before Christmas. This is a much smaller gathering, and it’s also much closer.
I have two siblings compared to my hubby’s two bio brothers and three step-siblings. Like literally, there were probably MAYBE 1/3 the people as at my hubby’s father’s house.
We prefer traditional Christmas fare, or at least it’s our traditions. We had a baked turkey, a half of a smoked young pig, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, and gravy over rice. For dessert, we had bread pudding, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, and a variety of Christmas goodies as well.
We always tend to plan around my husband’s dad’s side of the family. They typically always do it on Christmas Eve at 5 pm. Theoretically this could leave time for another “Christmas” that day for lunch. But my husband’s dad lives a good hour and a half away from us so we just keep that day for them.
It is the biggest of the celebrations because everyone is literally there. All the “children” are grown. So the kids and their spouses are there. Some of us have grown children (the grandchildren), so then there are more spouses. Some of us still have younger children as well. So there is a range of children from young to old.
Typically, the “grandchildren” also have kids so then comes the great-grand children. We also have nieces and their children. You will also see the grown children of my brother-in-law’s wife and their children. It really is like the entire extended family is also there.
I could go into greater detail, but we just don’t have that much time left today. You get the idea! We always eat gumbo because in the south, why not? it feeds a lot of people for “cheap”. We also had potato salad, butter finger cake, and various Christmas goodies.
Lastly, we had our Christmas with my mother-in-law on Christmas day. That morning the kid’s opened their gifts from us and Santa as I prepared the main course of our meal.
Again, sticking to a more traditional Christmas feast, I baked a turkey and a ham. I threw together a rice dressing in case the turkey didn’t make a good gravy, but it did. So we also had rice and gravy as well or instead of. Whatever. To each their own as they say.
In my freezer I had green beans from my dad’s garden, so I cooked those with some rendered down bacon. Yum. And then for dessert my mother-in-law made cake, brownies, boiled cookies, and pecan pie muffins.
Oh man, did we eat good. My parent’s and sister along with her three girls ended up joining us. our family had a blessed Christmas.
OK there was no 4th Christmas. But again, you get the idea. With a family as large as we have, it can become quite hectic and stressful.
This year I tried to do a variation of the four gift -something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read principle. None of my children got anything to read. But they did only get four gifts. I mean, after all, it isn’t about gifts and I want them to know that. For us, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Ready For New Years
Personally, I am glad the hustle and bustle is over, and I am ready to get back to normal days of school and quietness. I love Christmas. This is my favorite time of year in general. Starting with Halloween through New Year, it’s just what I love.
But, thankfully, we are nearing the finish line. Then it will be resolutions and more exciting changes that come with January 1!
I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy New year!
How did you spend your holidays? Do you have any tips for how to maneuver large family gatherings and multiple family celebrations during this time of year? If you do, please leave a comment below!