You know me by now. Right?
And you know my husband? (Apparently, judging by the gift, my family knows my husband as well.)
This is my grandmother. If you don't catch a candid shot of her, you end up with a posed picture of her snarling at you. Not on purpose, but because that's just her "photo face." This woman can cook. And set a beautiful table that we never made it to that evening, because we were too impatient and made a buffet of her lovely meal. But she didn't care. She had made plenty of food on which we could graze.
This is my grandma's husband, Henry. Let me fill you in on the conversation that led him to give me that particular sarcastic look.
Henry: "I'll open this one. It's all wrapped up and I can't tell what it is."
Me: "Uh, isn't that the point of wrapping the present?"
Henry: (see above photo)
This is my Aunt T. She's smiling in this photo because she's opening the gift from my grandma. And because she picked it out herself, she knows exactly what it is.
This is my uncle. My aunt and grandma managed to get him the camera he wanted on Black Friday, then told him the store had run out. He had that thing open while we were all sitting there with the rest of our gifts....then promptly handed the camera to my aunt and said, "Teach me how to use it!"
And this little beauty is Bayli, my aunt and uncle's dog. I'd have a picture of my grandma and Henry's dog, but she lounged far away from us the whole night. In this family, the pets are not just part of the family. They actually exchange gifts. Bayli got Miss Ginger some lovely collar charms, and Ginger bought Bayli pink squeaker toys.
Here's what made Christmas magical. No one fought. No one bickered. No one said anything remotely unkind, unless it had to do with football. Everyone sat in the same room. No one ran off to another part of the house to do something else. Despite the fact that we really do see each other a lot, we sat around and visited. And watched Jeff Dunham's Christmas special on the big screen. And ate in the living room without fear of reproach. We opened our gifts one by one, so we could watch each other enjoy them. It took over an hour, but it was nice to actually see someone open the gift you bought for them, instead of missing it in the frenzy and having to ask later.
And the best part? When we left to go home, we all still liked each other. And each other's spouse.
Today's lesson: The point of stressing over the holidays before they arrive is so that they aren't stressful when they actually get here. And the best way to ensure a happy holiday? Spend it with people who actually love you. Thank you to my family for giving us the peaceful Christmas we desperately needed.