Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hutson Family Christmas

Christmas celebrations in our family begin well before Christmas, and we enjoy the festivities all season long.

Grace couldn't wait to celebrate the Hutson Christmas.
The second Saturday of Christmas marks the Hutson family Christmas, which is my mom's side. While the location varies from year to year, we set it ahead of Christmas to accommodate more family members.  Mom has seven brothers and sisters, and we want everyone to have a chance to come.

Aunt Cathy gave a monologue as Mary, which was very touching.
This year's celebration was held at my Uncle Ron's church in Bunker Hill. They have a large multi-purpose room there where the kids can play basketball and run around. After all, there's usually around 50 or more in attendance.

Kyle visiting with Patrick and his son, Lane.
Grace took a late nap this afternoon, so we arrived just a little before dinner.  And even though Aunt Cathy's cookie press cookies were all gone, we still had a great time.  The meal is a potluck, with traditional favorites, like cheesy potatoes and veggie pizza, and there are always some new recipes to try too.  Kyle's favorite is my cousin Carol's oatmeal cake, and not only does she bring one for the meal, she always brings him one of his own to take home at the end of the night. He's most excited because it's not even something I really like, so he doesn't even have to share!

Kyle with his oatmeal cake!
After dinner, mom and her sisters usually plan a game or a mixer so people can visit with one another.  We usually only see mom's side of the family for Labor Day and Christmas, so there's always lots to catch up on. And Grace was the belle of the ball. She made her way through several family members who wanted a snuggle, and was happy to oblige.

Grace giving snuggles to Aunt Mary.
Grace giving snuggles to cousin, Marty.

Just before the gift exchange, my Aunt Cathy made a special presentation this year. She dressed as Mary, Jesus's mother, and then presented a monologue about her life and how she chose to follow God. It was very uplifting and made me think about answering God's call in my own life, even when it's hard.

Grace playing with her Minnie Mouse maracas.
And then it's time for presents. We do a gift exchange, and then my mom and her sisters play Santa's elves and provide gifts for the younger kids in memory of my grandparents each year.  It's always one of my favorite times of year when we get together after Thanksgiving to wrap them.  It's so much fun to see the kids open up their presents, and then immediately start playing with them.

Grace and I helping the Christmas elves get the presents ready.
It always reminds me of hanging out with my cousin, Stef, when we were growing up.  Grandma Hutson almost always gave us a word search book, and we would sit down with each other and have races to see who could finish a page the fastest. I'm sure that was much more productive than when we had contests about throwing wet toilet paper in the toilets.  You might have had to be there to understand that one.

I'm not sure which of us is more excited about Minnie Mouse!
Before we knew it, it was time to pack up the van and head for home.  Although it's hard to say goodbye, we know it won't be long before we see everyone again.

Just a photo from our cousins gathering after Christmas!
And it wasn't too long . . . since my cousins Stefanie and Jessica weren't home for the Hutson Christmas, we celebrated with another dinner after the holidays. And I loved every minute!


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