This weekend we finished up our 2007 Christmas season with, not one, but TWO family get togethers! Yes, we are a wild and crazy party couple! :)
On Saturday my family came to Lindsay's house to celebrate Christmas. Yes, I know you're thinking, "Wait, didn't you do that on Christmas Day?" Well, kinda. My family celebrates Christmas in two phases; on Christmas Day my sister and I celebrate with our immediate families, then on the Saturday after Christmas we do a combo celebration so the cousins can get together. But, since Lindsay was going to her father's family for most of Christmas Day, Randy & I figured we'd horn in on Paula's family gathering. Are you confused yet? If not, just wait.
Anyway, my folks and Paula and Lou and their kids came out to Lindsay's for the combo celebration. We always have such a fun time together. There's food (lots of it!), laughter and presents. We were really blessed this year because two of our out-of-town kids, Joe & LuAnn and her husband, Eric, were with us. We were missing two: Kevin, but he and his fiancee, Sara, made an appearance later in the afternoon via video; and Megan and her fiance, Matt who had coaching responsibilities that day.
A couple of years ago the adults stopped exchanging gifts because it became just an exchange of gift cards, so we figured that was silly. Now the rule is everyone buys for anyone under the age of 18 and for the great grandparents (my folks). Since Kevin turned 18 three years ago, we just have four kids under the age of 18. But they sure have a good time opening their presents!
We have a tradition during our combo celebration. A few years ago my sister, Paula, bought a set of 12 wine glasses, each one had a different picture of the "Twelve Days of Christmas." We all grab our favorite glass (some try to get the highest number so they don't have to sing as much!) and then we sing the song. My bro-in-law, Lou, always has the fifth day. Nobody sings "five golden rings" like Lou. And that's not necessarily a bad thing! :) One of these days we'll have to get us on video. I don't think the composer of the song quite had the McNeil clan in mind when he wrote the song. But, we sure do have fun singing it!!
This year Paula introduced another game to us. I'm not sure if it's going to catch on quite as well as the "Twelve Days of Christmas" singalong, but we'll see. We all paired up and armed with a pair of pantyhose and several balloons, we had to make reindeer antlers by shoving the balloons in the legs of the pantyhose! The first pair to do that and wear it won. Well, you can see by the pictures that this game certainly isn't for those who don't like to appear foolish!! :)
It's great to be able to enjoy family the way we do. I am very aware that many families are fractured and do not have the kind of celebrations and good feelings as my family does. And that makes me sad. I am grateful that my family comes together and enjoys one another. Don't get me wrong, we tick each other sometimes, too, but the love we have for one another always prevails. And that's a good thing.
Our last Christmas celebration was on Sunday with our eldest daughter, Ginny and her family. We spent the afternoon with them, just catching up. We hadn't seen Ginny, Chuck and Tommy for a year. Actually, we hadn't seen Chuck for much longer than that. Last year at Christmas, he was sick, so we didn't get to see him then. Our grandson, Tommy, is growing like a weed! He will be 9 years old in March and is getting so tall. Seems like yesterday when we traveled to Colorado to see him when he was four months old. Time flies . . . It was good catching up with them and getting our hugs in. We'll be sure to see them again this summer, especially at Kev's wedding.
Wow. Another Christmas season is over. Now, on New Year's Eve, it's time to reflect on this past year and look forward to the next; making changes where necessary and affirming those things that were good. I've got say, 2007 will go down as a great year in the Guiler history. All of our kids are doing well; Randy & I are healthy; my folks are healthy; and our extended families are thriving. God is on His throne and in control.
I am one contented woman. Talk with you next year! :)