Christmas Eve is always spent at Grandma's.
There are no if, ands or buts; we always gather at Grandma and Grandpa's.
After everyone savors Grandma's signature rolls and homemade chicken strips, we all dive into the deserts and then gather in the living room to separate presents.
By looking at this photo, you wouldn't think that our motto was "no presents." But being thrifty and budget-concious is in our family blood and we shop all year long and only buy something as a gift if it screams, "I thought of you and I had to get it for you!" Lots of those gifts were gifts from our family friend, Sandy, that had passed away very sudden in September. She did the same thing - shopped all year long - and had tons of items already wrapped just for thisoccasion.
We open up presents one at a time.
The youngest starts and we end up at the oldest until everyone is done. That way we can see what each person received, etc. It makes for a long evening, but it's exciting for everyone there and gives us more time to spend together.
But...before opening up gifts, we always read the Christmas story. Kensley, my cousins daughter, usually recites the story, but this year she wanted Grandma to do it while she read along.
This was a gift that every 'family' received; a crank radio.
We often talk about what our plan is if the electromagnetic pulse strikes, a natural disaster, or tragic event. The true plan is to walk to Grandma's, but at least we would all have a radio to see how bad the disaster is!
I say we would walk to Grandma's because they're the only ones who REALLY farm and can and this is proof in the photo below; homemade jelly and apple butter for CaS.
Aunt Kim got some earrings and Nolan - CaSandra's son and Kim's, grandson - got a pirate ship. Exactly what he asked for! It was a hit for the rest of the night!
How could you not love that face?
Yes, he did pose for me and has had lots of practice with his photog mother, Cousin CaS!
Grandpa fiddled and fiddled on that package trying to get out the industrial tweezers!
Grandma got large framed photos of she and Grandpa, taken on their 50th Anniversary day!
As I am always saying, our family is thrifty and this is Cousin CaS sporting her new handbag from yours truly for $4.97 at JCPenny!
The kids liked it too!
Kensley is sporting the dress-up outfits I scored at a local Goodwill for she and Nolan. They were each a whopin' $2.00, $3.00 per item.
At our family gatherings, we laugh, and laugh and laugh.
This year, most of the laughs were from Sandy's practical jokes.
Even though she wasn't with us physically, she was present in every celebration we had!
Imagine if you will what those are ;)
Now this was the gift of the night!
I scored this little drum set - stool and all - for $1.00 at a local thrift store!
Boy was he excited!
At the end of the day, it's not about the money spent, it's about family and creating memories a moment at a time!