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?


  1. Hearing stories about Jon’s family at Christmas time makes me miss Christmas’s when I was younger and going to spend time with my dad’s side of the family. It was always Christmas Eve at my nana’s house and everyone would just come and go and hang out and eat lots of food. Granted almost everyone also smoked so you can home smelling really gross but it was still good to see everyone.

    Now our traditions are driving around on Christmas Eve where I live to see the Christmas lights people put up in their yards. Christmas Eve is usually with my parents & my sister, BIL and neice (unless my dad is working). Christmas morning, my husband’s parents come to our house. I make breakfast and then we open presents just the four of us. Afterwards I take his parents with us to my cousin’s house where there is usually more food than necessary but it’s a lot of fun to see everyone. My family makes his parents feel right at home and they enjoy coming with us. His mom has said she’s very happy our family has “adopted” them. My DH doesn’t really have much family beside his parents. Everyone else lives in Alaska.

  2. Christmas with my mom & step-dad is usually pretty laid back. This year we had it on Thanksgiving which was perfectly fine with me. With my dad we usually try to have a gathering close to Christmas but it depends on when we have the time. This is something TNT has a hard time with. His parents have been married for almost 44 years so he’s never had to divide his time between parents and doesn’t understand that each set of parents has to have their own time. I always tell him you think its hard now imagine what it was like when I was a teenager.

    At the inlaws house they go above and beyond with gifts. The first year I was there I just bought one or two items for each person, but felt horrible when they had all kinds of expensive gifts for me. I’ll be honest I’m a tight wad so after that year I started shopping year round and hit the big sales. This year I bought the 3 girls Eddie Bauer fleece jackets for $3 each. I love clearence at an outlet store. My MIL kept yelling at me for spending so much, but in reality I spent about $50-75 per person. Even though the stuff I buy is always on sale it’s always good quality. Kohl’s is really good for that as well. I just watch my sales and when I get those 20% off your total purchase you can buy for next to nothing. My MIL does stockings too, but her stuff isn’t really gifts, but things you use all the time. Shampoo, deo, kitchen towels, utensils, throw away storage continers. Just all the stuff everyone has to buy. I’m usually stocked up for 6 months on those items. Those XL gift bags are what she uses as our stockings.

  3. How fun! I miss big Christmas gatherings. We really haven’t done them since I was little.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful time! What could be better than lots of family and lots of presents!?

  5. I was a bit overwhelmed the first Christmas we spent with my husband’s family. My family doesn’t really do a lot of gifts now that we are older. My parents do something small but we don’t exchange between the siblings. My MIL LOVES to give gifts! We always get SO much that it’s crazy to me! This year she scaled back and it was just fine. I’m sure as soon as we all have kids we’ll be wondering what happened to our gifts!

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