The Christmas celebrations started with Christmas Eve service with the Tyndall girls at FBC Mt Pleasant. After that, we had dinner together that Mom cooked, some interesting conversation, then did presents. The Tyndall gals decided a few years ago to draw names and get one person one 'big' present and everyone else something little. It's not as stressful and means that gifts are very special, and we don't have to worry about going broke to do it this way. We had a great time opening presents and enjoying each other's company for the rest of the evening. On our way back to our house, Matt had a goofy smile. When I asked him what it was about, he said that Christmas at my mom's was a good 'Christmas appetizer'. It makes sense in the light of a Flagler Christmas...
Around 8:30, the count of people has grown from 6 to 14. We do breakfast, and everyone stakes a claim to a spot in the living room. Some elves pass out presents, which in itself takes about 30 minutes. This year, there was a little drama with our 10-year-old cousin, Noah's presents all being at another location. So, while everyone else's pile of presents was growing to 15-25, he had 3. He cried. Steph, Mark, and Scott frantically tried to wrap some other presents for him, but he was so traumatized, that he decided to just have his dad take him home. Poor kid. We were sad, and it took a few minutes to recover from that. We all felt really bad for him.
After that wore off, Dad couldn't stand it any longer and opened his 1st present. Then Gail. Then Steven. Then Matt. Then me. Then Gary. Then Matt E. Then Lauryn. Then Grandma. Then Grandpa. Then Mark. Then Steph. Everyone goes one at a time so we can all enjoy watching the other person opening their gift. I love it that way. But it takes hours. Really, people go back for 2nds and 3rds of breakfast. Present opening wasn't over this year until around 2pm. (That's 5 hours, people!)
Then, we all scrambled to finish Christmas dinner and met over at Grandma's where Aunt Pat joined us for the traditional Christmas dinner and more presents for wheover wasn't at Mark & Steph's (and whatever presents might have been left at Grandma's).
At 11:30, we drive back home, tired. Gearing up to be at work early the next morning. So, so thankful that we experienced Christmas 2009 to its fullest!