Christmas recap post – the second half

Did I ever tell you the shock that I was in the first Christmas that I spent with Jon’s family?  Well, allow me to diverge a little.

My family, as you may or may not know, celebrates New Years in a similar fashion as Americans celebrate Christmas.  So every New Years, when we exchanged gifts, they were usually something small, but often expensive.  My family is into pretty high end electronics or large gifts (like the year my sister asked for tires for her car).  We tend to stick to one or two big gifts.  So on my first Christmas with Jon’s family, I was expecting something similar.

Boy, was I wrong!  Jon’s family gets about 5 bagillion gifts for everyone from everyone, in addition to a stocking that’s stacked so high that they use “stocking overflow bags.”  I remember walking into the living room that morning and literally thinking that I might faint!  As you know, opening presents is among my very favorite activities in this life, so this was pretty much like…well…Christmas morning.

Now back to our Christmas in 2011.

After eating some breakfast (cinnamon rolls, unfortunately they were store bought), Jon and I packed up the baby and headed to Massachusetts to celebrate Christmas with his family.  We were able to leave early and get to Jon’s brother’s apartment just after 10am.

Another side note – Jon’s poor brother Michael probably thought that he would get to sleep in since I wasn’t there to wake him up at 5 am, but since we left early, Jon’s mom woke everyone up to shower and get ready for us.  Michael, if you’re reading this, I’m super sorry.

Upon arriving (and picking at some breakfast leftovers), we fed Peanut her bottle and settled into Michael’s spare room that he uses as a living room.  That room was PACKED!  It was completely covered with presents – Jon’s mom had to practically sit in the hallway!  We all took turns opening presents and getting excited.  By the time we were finished, pretty much everyone was exhausted and hungry.  Jon’s brother and mom cooked up some delicious brunch items, along with some Belgium waffles (in a waffle maker that’s a duplicate of one that I got for Christmas! I even got a quick lesson on using it – super perfect since I absolutely detest reading directions).  After eating and relaxing, we all got ready and headed over to Jon’s grandparents’ house for more Christmas presents!

Jon’s grandmother hosts every one of her 5 kids and their kids and their kids’ kids (well, just ours for now) in her house for every big family event.  I have to tell you that it is an incredibly emotional moment for someone like me, who has only 1 cousin.  As the kids hand out and open presents, I watch the roomful of family exchange thank you’s and hugs and kisses and I can’t believe that everyone is still so super close!  It truly feels like the best Christmas, full of love and family.

After everyone finished with presents (and the adults exchanged some cards and cleaned up the ton of paper, bows, and ribbon), we file into the dining room and stuff our faces with Pirogis, Mac and Cheese, Shrimp mold, Kielbasa, and a ton of other out-of-this world tasty delights.  We all sat around and ate while the baby played with her new toys on the floor.  Jon and I took turns chasing her around the house as she crawled into every single space, stopping only to dip her hand into the dog food bowl.  By 7 she was exhausted so we warmed up a bottle, seat belted her into the car seat and headed home.

ps- I finally loaded one of Peanut’s videos to YouTube.  Here’s P’s very first Christmas present!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?