Hello from the other side…

…of Christmas, that is!

Does this post look extra-bright? Shiny? Crisp? Well, it does from this side of the blog. Why, you ask? Because I got a LAPTOP for Christmas!! (Showing once again that my hubby spoils me completely rotten.) Now if I can only get used to this touchpad ‘mouse’. Gracious, it’s odd. But I am having so much fun writing from various places in the house, and imagining how awesome it will be to be able to write on trips!

So when does your trash man come? Always, the week after Christmas I can’t wait for the trash man to come and carry away the traces of our spoiled-ness. It really is embarrassing how much trash we generate over Christmas. Even considering the size of our family, it seems extreme. At the moment, all 4 of our trash cans our full. There are 3 Hefty bags of trash in the garage, and 4 big boxes crammed full in our front entry way inside the house. Thankfully trash day is tomorrow, and I can once again say goodbye to that huge pile of trash that always makes me think we really ought to be more moderate in our gift-giving.

We did our celebration a bit different than usual this year. I blogged before that usually we do our private family celebration Christmas Eve morning. This year we had church then, though. So we did stockings Christmas Eve morning. I’m afraid the 4 year old won’t believe in Santa much longer. When she spotted the candy canes in the stockings supposedly from Santa, the 4 year old said, “But I know the candy canes are from you, Mommy, because that’s the same kind you bought, and you left the box right there on the table.”

Silly mommy.

After stockings we went to church, then had a buffet style lunch. After lunch the kids handed out all the presents they had bought for each other and for us, which turned out to be a nice way to highlight those gifts.

In the evening on Christmas Eve, we always head over to my mom’s house. I am the oldest of 8, and with all the cousins and various inlaws this year there were 41 people at mom’s. We always do clam chowder in bread bowls, along with fruit trays and veggie trays.

After dinner, we gather in the living room. The gifts are piled waist high around the tree, and folding chairs tightly pack every bit of wall space where there aren’t couches. The ring of chairs overflows into the dining room and the den on either side of the living room. We always begin the gift-giving by reading from Luke 2.

Usually my brother Pete does the reading, in honor of my dad, who died in 1988. (However this year Pete was at the hospital with his wife who just delivered their second child, a baby boy, on Christmas Eve afternoon! We all agreed that they gave the best gift to the grandparents this year!) So this year, my youngest brother Jonathan did the reading.

After that, we always sing some Christmas carols, selected by the littlest children: traditionally lovely songs such as Away in A manger, Joy to the World, and Silent night are requested. This year my two youngest made me giggle (and blush) by requesting Jingle Bells and the ABC song.

Then, gifts. We always draw names, which is fun. And then Mom and my step-dad always end up with a huge heap of individual gifts from various ones of us, and they always buy each of us something. It is a precious time. I’ll blog over on my Ethiopia blog later today about the our charitable gift dilemma, and how it all went…

After the big shindig at mom’s we went home and set out cookies for Santa, and scurried off to bed to recharge for yet more partying on Christmas morning.

To be continued…


  1. 41 people! Oh my, now that is a party! You’re family picture is lovely and can I say your hair looks wonderful!

  2. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas-

    How do you get 8 children to ALL smile at the same time? I can’t get two!! Beautiful Picture!!

    I just started blogging, and have “stolen” a few recipes from you, trying the apple crisp either tonight or tomorrow!

  3. What a great picture!

    By the way, the stuffed French toast strata was a huge hit around here Christmas morning.

  4. Sounds like such a lovely day – can’t wait to hear more!

  5. My two oldest sons got laptops for HS graduation, and when I have used them for a little bit, I have trouble with that touchpad mouse, too. It just feels so strange. They both have cordless mice (mouses? is that pluralized the same way?) that they use at home, but I don’t think they lug them to classes.

    Our trash pick-up is Wednesday. We’re usually just about overflowing as it is, but found out it costs extra money to have a second trash can. So our stuff is over the top now, and we haven’t yet taken out the bag of discarded wrapping paper or any empty boxes…

    Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas!

  6. I’m with Toni!!! HOW do you get your whole family to smile at the SAME TIME????? Esp the 4 yr old and 2 yr old???? VERY impressive!!! : ) And thanksful to hear others struggle with getting their kiddos to smile at the camera too! : ) GREAT pic!!! Our trash guy came TODAY!!! WOOHOOO!!! I’d never had to think about that until THIS year, and it’s funny b/c it was one of the first things I thought of as the gifts started getting unwrapped! : )

  7. I just use a plug-in mouse with my laptop – I never could get used to the touchpad.

  8. I too am impressed with all the smiles! the big discussion about our Christmas picture this year was about my husband not smiling! 🙂

  9. Laptops are great for travel and I do lug mine on every trip in spite of the major pain of getting one through security. However. I have never wrote one paragraph on a trip. I just doesn’t happen.

    Your family is lovely lovely!

  10. What a great picture! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now and really enjoy it! We have a couple of things in common! I’m the oldest of 8 children and I also have 8 children! Wonderful number, isn’t it? :o) ~~Pam

  11. Glad your Christmas went so well… we tried out your Christmas Eve day tradition (that you didn’t do this year! 🙂 ) and loved it. Our Christmas was rather elongated, which was wonderful, and all that was missing was my Australia family!! Then there would have been 22… we are a little behind you all! 🙂

  12. Congratulations! Nothing like a new laptop to keep you blogging.

  13. Enjoy that new laptop! I am sitting in my kitchen as I type, oven baking dinner, washer and dryer “doing” yet, another, load of laundry, and I am catching up on some seriously neglected blog visiting! Laptops are the best!

    Can’t wait to read more of your laptop-posted blog posts in the New Year!

    Happy Blogging! Happy New Year!


  14. Congratulations on recent technology!
    My husband uses a plug-in mouse most of the time with his laptop. His bag has an extra pocket, so he carries the mouse with him.
    I’m told that my next computer will be a laptop, no matter how much I protest. As the geek and technicion of the family, he says he knows what’s best for me and I’ll get the hang of it.

    The smiles show a beautiful famlily. I love your little girls and their matching dresses.

    My aunt was the Emcee for the drawing of names. After she passed on, we sorta forgot about gift-giving. There are times when LIFE needs a good manager for things to happen.

    Our trash collection day is Monday, but was postponed because of the holiday. I did not realize until I saw other cans upside down from the workers. Therefore, I did not take our bin to the curb.
    Ah well, it’s less than half full. We compost and recycle so much that we don’t need the trash to go out as often.

    The other side of Christmas is looking just fine.

  15. Sounds wonderful.

    Our trash is threatening to overtake the corner of the yard.

  16. Sounds wonderful, thank you for dropping by!

  17. Sounds like a fabulous Christmas. Two days worth!
    I have to say, the guilt about all that will be landfilled due to our consumerism is consuming me today . . .

  18. Sounds like you all had a great time. I love getting together with family at this time of year too!

  19. Interesting. Nice family portrait there!!!

    And atleast someone’s talking about all the colossoal waste we generate…which gets even bigger than colossal on festivals.

  20. It sounds wonderful Mary.

  21. What a beautiful Christmas photo! Blessings!!

  22. Just catching up with everyone….what a stunning photo fo your family! And your Christmas sounds just perfect.