Almost every year as far back as I can remember, my extended family gets together for our annual Early Family Christmas. The tradition stemmed from the years when my grandma's kids were just all grown-up, starting to have their own families, and unable to make it home for Christmas. With six of them all together, living spread out from one another, it meant juggling too many days during an already busy season. And thus was born the "Early Xmas"; usually held the first weekend of December or one of the last weekends in November, the six tried to bring the bigger extended family together for a celebration. Since we all live far apart from each other, it meant sleeping over at a cousin's house, or having all your cousins sleep at your house. As a kid, it truly was one of the best weekends of the year.
We used to do a secret-santa gift exchange. One year my mom made everyone stuffed-geese with these googly eyes. Another year we stayed at a lodge in northern Ontario. We went for a walk late at night in the woods and the moon was really bright. That was the same year my family made me put on my highland-dancing gear and do a sword dance for them. I was an awkward 16-year old in a kilt. (What? I didn't tell you I highland-danced?!)
As the second generation of kids got older, we started making more of a party out of it. Staying up late into the night, sharing drinks and stories. Now the second generation has their own generation to take care of - but we still manage to stay up late. It's pretty cool to see how much the family has grown.
Anyway, this weekend we gather. It's the 30th time we've come together. It hasn't always been pretty and it hasn't always been perfect, but it's been our own thing.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw:
"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you might as well make it dance."
Have a great weekend!! You have my full permission to start listening to Christmas carols... I assure you, I will be!! :)