Every year at Christmas, especially since my parents were divorced, my sister and I had to split our time between my father's family and Mom and her side of the family. For most people this more of a have to rather than something that they look forward to. However for us it was something that we looked forward to. I guess part of the reason was that we had kept the same traditions in place that we had even before my parents divorced. Christmas Eve was always with my father's side of the family and my grandparents. My Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw wanted to be able to have their entire family together for Christmas and knew that with two of their three children married with kids that wouldn't be possible unless they found a way to share with the in-laws, so the plan was simple - Christmas Eve with them and then they were free to spend Christmas Day with their spouses family.
Every year it was the same, we would gather at Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw’s house and everyone would be there by mid-afternoon/early evening. Three big 8 foot tables would be set up for everyone to eat around; food would be set up on another table next to wall and was served buffet style. It was your typical party food; finger sandwiches, veggie tray, meatballs & lil smokies in crock pots, we also usually had a ham or a roast with French bread to make sandwiches with; and everyone would help themselves all evening long. Usually at some point during the evening the neighbors, my grandparents have lived next to the same people for 56 years so they are part of the family at this point, and extended family would stop by. Also the 4 of us and whichever cousins would be around would either carol for the family or put on some type of Christmas Show. When I was in 5th grade I had just started playing the clarinet so I remember that year they sang to me playing whatever Christmas Music I knew at that point, which if I remember correctly was Jingle Bells and Rudolph. Then once everyone left but the immediate family we would open gifts. Sometimes my sister and I would stay over for the night and go to Mom’s the next morning and sometimes we would be dropped off that night. No matter what Santa would have come to our house and gifts would be waiting when we got there.
Tomorrow or later tonight I will tell about Christmas with Mom’s side. So until then have a good day.