Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas by Roseanne Dowell

 Our Christmas celebration begins tonight. Every year my siblings and I get together to celebrate. A lot has changed over the years, what started out at my parents soon got taken over by us kids. As my parents aged, and our families grew, it got to be too much for them. Between us six kids, there were 23 grandchildren. Quite a crowd. What started out
as a traditional Christmas Eve dinner soon turned into snacks like potato chips and pretzels. 
Each of my siblings and I took turns hosting, which wasn't too bad actually. We only had it once every five years - one of my siblings wives opted out. I guess the idea of 14 adults and 23 kids was too much for her to handle, but the rest of us participated.
Of course our families grew, the grandchildren married and one by one dropped out, having in-laws to visit. Soon there were just me and my siblings and a few grandchildren whose in-laws lived out of town. Alas, now it's just my two brothers and one sister. My parents have  passed on as well as one brother and sister. This year we're down to just the eight of us.
What started out as a joke many years ago soon became a tradition in our family. Joke gifts. We decided early on since there were so many of us not to give the traditional gift, other than for my parents who we bestowed a real gift. Not that my mom was excluded from the joke gifts. Far be it from us not to include her. I think we all get our sense of humor from our mother. She loved to play tricks and jokes on people.  
Every year my sisters and I would get together a week or two before
Christmas to come up with ideas to give my brothers. Often our gifts would include letters composed by our three minds put together. Often our gifts consisted of something to wear. 
Once the group shrunk to just my siblings, we began giving serious gifts also. Many times my gifts were homemade, quilts, embroidery, photos my husband took. After all, finding something for people who virtually had everything was quite a feat. Eventually, that became too difficult and we stopped, but the joke gifts continued. 
At least they did until this year. One of my sister in laws and my sister ran out of ideas. So this year, there won't be any joke gifts. 
In fact, this year will be the last with my oldest brother. They've purchased a house in Florida and next year will spend Christmas there. It saddens me to think we won't all be together, but at least my younger sister and brother will still participate. We'll be down to six.
No matter how many of us there are, it'll still be a fun evening. 
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. 

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