Southern Man

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

After a relaxing morning and afternoon with Teen Daughter (the younger one stayed with Southern Parents after last night's gathering) and we spent a quiet afternoon playing chess and watching The Lord Of The Rings until it was time to load up the sleigh and set out over the river and through the woods.

Our long-standing family tradition is for Southern Man and his siblings and our families to gather at the ancestral manor and spend Christmas Eve with our parents. They set up a magnificent tree in the Atrium and the gifts accumulate all week. With such a large group we have a gift lottery; Southern Man drew one of his computer-geek nephews this year and had a good time shopping for an appropriate gift. Another tradition is to fill everyone's stockings with presents from "Santa" and Southern Man takes great delight in choosing gifts that the recipient will like but won't necessarily be traced back to him. This also gives us ample opportunity to break the one-gift rule and load our parent's stockings with tokens of love and affection. Other stocking stuffers (like Southern Man's sodas and Southern Sister's framed photos) have run for so long that the secret is out but we continue to give them anyway.

Stockings under the tree. Those tall bags are for the gifts; the "stocking" stockings usually hold Benjamins.

There is always a table of finger food and cookies and candy and treats of every kind...

Sister-in-law and eldest nephew in the Dining Room examine the Christmas Eve feast.

...and we always gather in the Library for a reading of the Christmas Story from Luke Chapter 2...

"And, lo, an angel of the Lord appeared before them..."

...and then move to the Living Room and the Kitchen (this is beginning to sound like a live game of Clue) for food and conversation...

Teen Daughter and her cousins occupy the kitchen nook.

...and finally the opening of the gifts.

Teen daughter's gift came in one of those puzzle boxes where you have to complete a maze to open it.

It took her a while but eventually the box was defeated and the gift was in hand!

Teen daughter really likes puzzles.

Twelve-year-old daughter and a new video camera.

Southern Man shopped for computer-geek nephew at the XKCD store. Nephew is in the background; Southern Brother admiring the shirt.

Southern Parents smooch in front of the fireplace. The podium in the foreground was hand-crafted for Southern Mother by Southern Father.

Southern Son was the last to arrive - he had to work late - so he was the center of attention for a while. Which suits him just fine!

And while waiting on Teen Son we played a rousing game of Taboo. The girls won, as the always do; Southern Man holds that they have some sort of ESP when it comes to games like this. "You know, that actor!" "Richard Gere!" "Yes!"

Twelve-year-old daughter racks up another point for the girls.

And then Southern Sister always takes over and poses us for family photos. She's a much better photographer than Southern Man so when he gets his copies he may add a few here.

The festivities didn't end until nearly eleven and then only because Southern Man's children needed to get on the road for a two-hour drive to join their mother. And that was the only sad moment of the evening. Five years ago Southern Man thought his life was over and that his children would hate him forever. Yet here we are, gathered as always for a joyous family Christmas. Life does go on after divorce. It sometimes even gets better! Lord, we thank you for your countless blessings on all of us and ask you to continue to bless us all in the coming year. Amen.


At Monday, December 26, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you! Good for YOU! Life does go on after divorce, even a heartbreaking one. And yes, life gets better and better with each day (or season). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Southern Man.

God Bless,
Lee Petz
Mesquite TX

At Monday, December 26, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...did you play in any snow? Was everyone there to celebrate? Any long lost relatives show up? Did Southern Man have the day he wished for? Were you good enough for Santa this year?


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