Christmas Chaos: Round #2 = Christmas FUN!

Every year we spend days and weeks preparing for Christmas Day.  Shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, all while watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas music.  Then there is laundry and packing clothes and loading all the gifts and setting out to travel 8+ road hours to visit family. The actual day finally gets here, and before we know it, it’s over.  If your family is like ours, you had lots of gifts, food, laughter, and gift wrap trash to collect.  Following all the chaos we played every new game the little kids received as well as the games the “big” kids received.  Then we ate some more and watched the new movies the kids received.

My husband and I feel so blessed that God has allowed us to have our “core” family (both our sons, daughter-in-love, and three grandchildren) all together with us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Extended family arrived later in the day for a couple of rounds of Hand and Foot Canasta which half of us had never played before.  Learning all the rules and nuances was a blast, and when one of us novices made a silly mistake…well, let’s just say it was hard to get back to the game for all the laughter.

Christmas Eve, before the grandkids went to bed, my son wanted to read Twas the Night Before Christmas to all the kids.  This was the first year that I knew of that he wanted to do that, and my first thought was, “What a great tradition to start with his kids!”  As you can see, this most definitely is a 21st century reading of this classic Christmas story (Hint for those who are Baby Boomers or older:  He is NOT reading from a “traditional” book; he’s reading on his iPad).


Here’s just a few pictures of the fun.









Throughout the years, my husband has usually helped me with the Christmas shopping as well as the wrapping (yeah, I know…I am one LUCKY BLESSED girl!).  However, this year, since I am now retired, I guess he figured I could do all the shopping and wrapping by myself.  I didn’t mind…well, maybe I minded a little.  The last night I was wrapping gifts, my husband was sitting there doing nothing relaxing, watching television.  I said to him, “Dear, I am REALLY sorry that you won’t have a good Christmas this year.  I have deprived you of all the ‘JOY’ of Christmas.”  He asked me what I meant by that.  I explained that since he didn’t get to help with the shopping or the wrapping I was just SURE he wouldn’t ENJOY Christmas as much this year!  You should have seen the look on his face!

Last Christmas, as well as the Christmas before, my husband and I had “AGREED” to NOT get each other gifts.  He didn’t abide by that agreement either year.  Both years he got me a really nice gift, and I had nothing for him!  This year I told him if he got me anything, I would be promptly returning it.  I HAD to makeup for not getting him anything for the last two years, so I surprised my husband with an iPad this year for Christmas.  I thoroughly enjoyed the look on his face!

But…wait!  It gets even better.  Unknown to him, I bought myself a gift.  I wrapped it, filled out the card to myself (all except the “From” part), and had my DIL to take it to him with an ink pen.  I told her to tell him to sign his name to the card and give the gift to me!  Needless to say, we all got a good laugh out of my little prank!


Oh, yeah…I almost forgot to tell you:  I got a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad that I got for Christmas last year (remember — when we weren’t supposed to get each other gifts!).


I’m Dreaming of a White ELEPHANT — Ummm — Christmas! aka: CHRISTMAS CHAOS Round #1

Our Christmases are always pretty crazy.  My husband and I live in southeast Missouri, our oldest son lives in Florida, and our youngest son and his family live in Oklahoma.  Most of my husband’s family live in southwest and central Missouri, and I have family in St. Louis and Indiana.  Therefore, you can logically conclude that we spend a lot of time during the holidays traveling to see family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our first Christmas gathering was the weekend before Christmas Day with my husband’s family in southwest Missouri.  We all gathered at my husband’s sister’s house just outside of Springfield.  Words cannot express how thankful we are for her and her husband’s willingness to have us all over.  We stuffed ourselves on all the wonderful food everyone brought and exchanged gifts.  This year we decided to exchange WHITE ELEPHANT gifts instead of purchasing gifts, and, of course, we played the “stealing Santa” game thing.  For those of you who don’t know what a white elephant gift is, it is an item you already have around the house that you either don’t want any more, never used, or simply just didn’t like/want (YES! Legal re-gifting!).  There were some pretty interesting white elephants in the room that day along with much laughter!

Later the guys went downstairs to play some pool and watch the Mizzou basketball game.  The ladies stayed upstairs, entertained Owen (the newest member of our family) with funny faces and “baby talk” (which I’m positive he understood every single word!), visited, and played Catch Phrase.  Of course, we all went back to the kitchen and dining room numerous time to do some more munching on all that delicious food!







This last picture is my favorite picture of them all!  (L to R: my husband, his sister, mom, and brother)


We really had a wonderful time that weekend, and we all truly missed those family members who couldn’t be there.  Hopefully we will all be able to get together for a visit very soon.

NEXT:  On to Round #2 of Christmas Chaos! 

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