Christmas with Family

Christmas Forest is my mom in law’s distinctive creation

Christmas Forest is my mom in law’s distinctive creation



I am a gregarious person and like to be around families especially around the holidays. Well, I was brought up to believe that happiness is augmented when shared. With my own family far away in China, I could but exchange presents with them through mails and talk to them on the phone or video conference with them over webcam. Fortunately I also have my husband’s family here to share the holiday with. My parents in law are very kind and always make me and my son feel welcomed and loved as part of the clan. Again this year we spent our week long Christmas holiday with my in-laws in their Connecticut home and had a marvelous time.

Christmas Eve was spent at home when my mother in law Pam, a wonderful cook, worked most of the day to make apple and zucchini bread to take to the extended family on Christmas day and cook Christmas Eve feast. The progression dinner started as soon as my sister in law Lisa, her husband and their two kids arrived in the late afternoon and lasted into almost midnight. We were regaled with jumbo cocktail shrimps, seven layer dip(per my husband’s request) with three variety of organic Chili Verde corn tortilla chips, Italian sausage with two flavors of mustard dips, bacon wrapped scallops, apple bread and zucchini bread, Christmas salad and pumpkin cheese cake(another one of my husband’s favorite and request). Every thing was absolutely delicious and greedily washed down with red wine or beer… And as hard as we tried, we had to have Angel Hair & Shrimp Scampi crossed from mom’s menu.

Abbey chewing on a wooden spoon

Abbey chewing on a wooden spoon


In between the courses were last minute gift wrapping and Lisa helped her three year old son Nate get ready for Santa Claus by decorating prebaked cookies with colorful icing. The new star of the evening was Abbey, the new addition to the family, Lisa’s baby girl. She is the most adorable and pleasant baby with cutest big, round, blue eyes. She welcomed everyone’s attention and was active and happy almost the entire time. It was a great joy to see her smile and watch her crawl or kick her legs on the floor vigorously or bounce in her walker or grab everything within reach, especially things that are not her regular toys, and taste it the instant her getting hold of it.

Stockings around the Christmas Forest

Stockings around the Christmas Forest


Another great ritual of Christmas Eve is the stocking ceremony: everyone gathering around some stockings and taking turn to pick a desired one and hang it up. These stockings would be filled with goodies over night by “Santa Claus”.

Nate drawn by his construction set

Nate drawn by his construction set


Sure enough, Nate was the first one to wake up on Christmas Day. When I joined everyone in the living room about 15 after 8 in the morning, he already started opening presents. The frenzy on Christmas morning was hilarious. While every one was generous to each other, the kids were the big winners.

Bell, the receiving ambassador

Bell, the receiving ambassador


Christmas Day dinner is usually with the extended family. Christmas 2007, we had dinner with my father in law’s family so Christmas 2008 was a turn with my mother in law’s family, which was to be at auntie D’s house. We stopped by auntie M’s house where the dinner for father in law’s family was held and gleefully surprised by the gentle greetings from Bell, who was standing in front of the house at that moment and all perked up by her Christmas collar in red and green.

Christmas dinner at auntie D’s was a potluck of the best dishes of the attending families and could be nothing but fantastic. We had ham, pork loin, mashed potato, mashed yam, ziti with tomato sauce, Brussels sprouts casserole with bacon, Christmas Salad, baked mix vegetables, grandma A’s pickled carrots, my other in law’s zucchini salad, etc., to go with wine, lots of wine. Among the dozen deserts, grandma A’s pumpkin log was my favorite.

Upon finishing my dinner, I picked up Abbey and held her on my laps. After trying out the table cloth, she discovered a new activity and started pulling hard on her socks. She was completely absorbed in the task and obliviously amused more than a dozen grown up relatives at the same dinner table. When she finally got her left sock off and put it in her mouth immediately, some of us had laughed to tear.

Yankee Grab Bag at auntie D’s

Yankee Grab Bag at auntie D’s


A game of Grab Bag, a Christmas day tradition, followed dinner among the couple dozen of us. A few comical items intrigued many and were hotly sought after. This entertaining game brought out laughter continually and the merriment lasted the rest of the night.

It was a white Christmas. English legend has it that a white Christmas will bring a prosperous year, which I wish to you all!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s