At one point in the days leading up to Christmas, the reality was it would quite likely be just my *little* family of seven for our traditional (formal) Christmas Eve dinner. Everybody's plans seemed to unfold gradually (good thing I'm okay with being everybody's "back-up plan"), and before we knew it, we were going to be right back enjoying the tradition of the last few years (minus last year).
Casey, Cindy and Lucy, James, Kristin, Annie and Kate, and Nana and Grandpa, all joined us for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. It was a little of a tight squeeze in our dining room, and the conversation, food and general goings-on, seemed to take more of a precedence than quality photo taking. Eyes closed and cut off faces will have to suffice.
In the days leading up to Christmas Eve, at least two of my (extended) family members told me that Christmas Eve dinner is one of their favorite parts of Christmas. What hostess wouldn't love a comment like that? Of course it thrilled me, and mades the hours of food, table, and cracker preparations worthwhile.
All of the elements that make this a much loved tradition were in place. Christmas crackers, a quarter in the dessert, the $5.00 bill on display for the winner, everybody squeezed around one table (except the four little ones, they had to get booted to a separate table this year), and a lot of Christmas Eve excitement and anticipation in the air.
(Excuse the red eye--Picasa was doing funny things when I was trying to fix them.)
We spent a long time sitting around the table visiting, while the children disappeared to do who knows what. Well actually, we have a little clue what they were doing, courtesy of Joshua the photographer...
Although Cousin Annie stayed at the children's table long after the other children had left. I'm not quite sure if she was having a eating-blindfolded contest with herself, or if the Christmas cracker crown was simply in the way.
Baby Kate got stuck sitting by the adults, which is probably why she is showing very little interest in anything but the mashed potatoes on her tray.
Luke wasn't in the greatest moods throughout the meal. I think it had something to do with the fact he and Ellie had to share the piano bench for the duration of dinner. Not exactly the best mix of children to be in that close of a proximity for the meal, but such is life.
(And please, oh please excuse that tacky lemonade container on the table. Luke doesn't like carbonation or any of the drink that comes in the pretty-bottles-suitable-for-a-formal-Christmas-Eve-set-table, and at the last minute I allowed him to splurge and have the lemonade that's been sitting in our pantry for at least a year.)
I'm not sure if this photo was taken before, after or during Grandpa Peter's traditional online searching of Santa's whereabouts.
Oh, and the winner of the quarter-in-the-trifle this year?
That would be Mike. Which is probably appropriate. He's "donated" a lot of $5.00 bills to the cause over the years.
I know I could have made it a Christmas Eve to remember had it ended up being just the seven of us, but having everyone else join us, really was a bonus. I think one day, when the Christmases of today are tomorrow's nostalgic remembrances, the Christmas Eve dinners squeezed into my dining room will be some of the most remembered parts of the season.