Longtime readers might remember that Christmas in my dreams is a mashup of Days of Our Lives (formal clothes, gorgeous packages, everyone sitting in one room as champagne is sipped and presents are opened one at a time) and Miracle on 34th Street (Santa comes at night, even for the broken 67-year-old organizer).
Thus, those who know me best and love me the most feel defeated from the start that Christmas will never measure up, no matter what they do.
Now as the primary Christmas planner, still I persevere.
Family Christmas was on New Year’s Day this year at the tiny homestead and it was perfect.
There was even some bling as Daughter-in-law wore her gold sequin shoes with her Roll Tide sweatshirt.
With two shift workers and lots of families vying for Christmas scheduling, I was thrilled that we could pick a time before the 4th of July to have the 10 of us together.
I know that I am not alone in my angst over family Christmas schedules and in the nine years of in-lawing, we have tried a bunch of different ways.
I haven’t hosted in several years and I loved it. My right-hand and ambulatory helper, not so much.
While there are lots of families for whom 10 would be just a small portion, it is my 100 percent.
I was over the moon. And to have it with football on just seemed fitting for this bunch.
Each set of kids was enduring their third Christmas by the time they got to my house.
To recap the roster, Skinny Son in our former renderings is 40 next month and was married two weeks after I retired in July 2021.
With the awesome daughter-in-law and diehard Alabama fan Melissa came two bonuses, Adam and Isla.
Adam is consumed by sports and is a giant high school freshman and Isla is a reader, actress and perhaps the sweetest soon to be middle schooler there is.
Mouse the Daughter and Kyle the world’s best son-in-law balance two shift work schedules with the world’s most perfect small ladies, Evelyn Loraine, 8, and Addie Fritz, 6.
Twenty-two months apart, as they grow they look more and more alike and could be triplets with their beautiful mom’s baby pictures.
Add the ever helpful and still somehow here significant other of 22 years and me directing from my chair and that’s the roster.
Thank God all of their dogs and cats and fish stayed home.
They were to come at “noonish” and rolled in at 12:45 and about 1:40.
Food was a grazing buffet so they knew they were safe from a sit down dinner being shoe leather.
Since it’s their favorite and they weren’t here Christmas Eve, I made Christmas Eve Chowder and there was ham and smoked turkey to build sliders.
And Very Cherry Salad, which they devoured.
And savory munchies.
And about a million sweet things, because it was Christmas after all.
Joe the Son made shredded beef taquitos from scratch and they were delicious.
The little girls looked darling in matching Christmas dresses, tights and booties.
Isla got a wearable blanket in Barbie pink from me and never took it off, although it is big enough for Frank Crum (one size fits all).
The little ladies got a Peppa Pig house and a Gabby’s Dollhouse from me and seemed thrilled with both (Mom provided a list thankfully).
Mom only set up one while they were here and the 6-year-old explained Gabby thusly to her clueless Nana:
“She is a human but when she puts on her cat ears, she turns into a doll and gets to live in the dollhouse.”
The 8-year-old’s current favorite expression is “No way!” which she uses equally to express delight and displeasure.
She is our special one, and her speech has improved so much that we just love to hear her talk.
Way too soon, everyone packed up since there was school the next day.
And when everyone was gone, I remembered the very fancy, extremely pricey caramel apples that they were supposed to take home.
They had been stored in the cool garage because the fridge has been overflowing for weeks.
If that’s all that went wrong, it was a great day indeed.
Sally Ann Shurmur can be reached at: SallyAnnShurmur@Gmail.com