My family is crazy.
Its actually part of what I love about them. We're very low maintenance when we get together. Originally my aunt started hosting everyone the Saturday before Christmas. We'd have typically potluck style foods then do a small white elephant gift exchange.
As her children got older, it became too difficult for my aunt to have everyone over, so I took the reins. This weekend was Jay and my 3rd year hosting the event, and the first time at the farmhouse. Our previous home was an open floor plan and was easy fitting everyone in between the formal dining room and the eating nook so close together (and open).
This year we had a decision to make - to eat in the formal dining room or scrunch up in the hearth room. Thankfully we decided upon the hearth room, as the dining room is still a dumping ground of remodeling supplies.
Even though we keep the menu simple and have everyone bring something, I did have moments of panic about the party. What if I couldn't get my house clean in time? What if everyone thought my house was dirty? What if my house was dirty? Notice a theme? We are, after all, a family of neat-freak perfectionists.
My mom assured me that no one cared how clean my house was and just wanted to spend time together. I seriously thought about cancelling, but since this is our Christmas to spend with Jay's family this would be my only time with the extended family.
I decided to keep the meal plan simple - I would make Santa Fe Soup (which mostly just involves ground beef and opening lots of cans of beans), my mom would bring hot beverages to enjoy, my aunt a red velvet cake (since its my favorite and wouldn't be around to enjoy it at Christmas) and my grandmother was in charge of all beef hot dogs and buns. (My cousins is allergic to almost everything - chicken, turkey, beans. Beef is about the only thing he can eat.)
Yep, we had hot dogs and soup. Cause we're classy like that.
Another classy party favorite? "Guess how much _____ weighs." Jay had been chopping wood with my dad earlier in the day, so I told him to weigh at my parents house and tell no one. Turns out he'd already compared numbers with my dad.
Most people were off by Jay's weight by at least 10 pounds, my grandmother as much as 35. He carries it well, especially when he can hide it with clothes. Then my dad got up and had to show off how skinny he is and have people guess him. I'd wrapped items from my CVS stash as door prizes.
My Papaw couldn't be left out of the fun, so of course he had to have everyone guess his weight. Of course he's the skinniest (and tallest) of the group and wanted everyone to know it. Then my Mamaw too her turn and Papaw pointed out who the heaviest in their relationship is (and its not him - after 50+ years of marriage you can get away with more).
My aunt brought her Scrabble Apple game and her Scrabble dictionary. We almost had WW3 break out a couple of weekends ago in Fall Creek Falls when she didn't bring her dictionary and we had to rely on Jay's magic box (laptop) to make rulings on questionable words.
Jay hooked up his magic box to the television and we looked at pictures from Fall Creek Falls, then Jay pulled up a rat fishing video created by a guy my dad works with. It wasn't as funny though, without the commentary. Dude's name is Paul but he goes by "Gomer" so I'm sure you can imagine that the commentary was colorful.
Then the moment everyone had been waiting for - our white elephant exchange. The only rule is that the gift must be something you already own. No money can be spend purchasing something. This year ranged from the quirky (a state quarter map my dad was super pumped about) to the random (our old fireplace grate) to the lame (the VHS video of a fireplace & Christmas music).
I ended up with an old dish towel, $1 bill,and a ceramic bird. I was excited about the money and the towel (it'll make a great workout sweat rag).
We had a great time, my mom actually had to say "well we'd better get going" to spur everyone to start trickling out. I felt like it was a great success.
My family is weird.
But we're hilarious.
And that's why I love them so much!