Sometimes living life in a big family does feel like a three-ring circus, but that's my life, and, all-in-all, I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Three Days of Christmas

Yes, we celebrated Christmas three weekends in a row!
On Saturday, the 17th, we started the day with Mia's Christmas Dance recital:

It really put us in the Christmas spirit!
And then we went back to the house to celebrate 'Jansson Christmas' (I don't know why we call it 'Jansson Christmas' because a lot of my side of the family attends too!)

It was LOTS of family!  LOTS of food!  LOTS of fun!

And we had our 'Secret Santa' gift-exchange (on Thanksgiving we all pick one name out of a hat and we buy only for that one person):

I had Jackie this year and I bought her some maternity clothes and also because she kept complimenting the necklace I wore to Eóghan's Christening I got one just like it for her.  I love 'Secret Santa' because we get to concentrate on just one person.  And Jackie is a very sweet person to be able to concentrate on, and she's so easy to shop for!  (We have much the same taste in many areas.)

She sent me a picture of herself wearing the dress I got for her:

And Diane had me for Secret Santa and I LOVED what she got for me!  She gave me a beautiful little icon of St. Anne and St. Joachim (they are the Patron Saints of grandparents), and she got me a book by Diane Keaton (Then Again), and she gave me a CD by Alfie Boe (Bring Him Home), and best of all, she gave me a walk down memory lane when she gave me a game that I loved when we were little ~ "Mystery Date" (and Jayden was very anxious to play it, and so was Ray's sister Susie, she said she always wanted one but never got it ~ I guess I know what I'll be buying her if I ever get her in Secret Santa)!

I think everyone was happy with their 'Secret Santas' ~ I know I was!

And the next day we went to the Family Mass at church and then a few of us went out to brunch at our favorite restaurant:

(Jayden & Mia were having fun taking pictures of each other!)

Then on Christmas Day we celebrated with a much smaller crowd, with just salads and sandwiches for lunch, but it was a wonderful celebration too.  And we sang 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus.  And, my sister Marybeth gave me 'the Chinese people'!  Each year one of us girls gets to keep them for a year before we pass them on to the next sister as a Christmas gift.  "The Chinese People" (which I actually think are Japanese as they were made in Japan, but we always called them the Chinese people) were one of the first knick-knacks we remember my Mom having.  I love every little detail about them, I love their poses and their sweet expressions, almost as if they are reflective and wise, and mostly I love that they are a beautiful reminder of family, and love, and childhood:

And then on New Year's Day we had another Christmas celebration!  Since we weren't able to celebrate with Erik, Lori, Mia, & Sophie on Christmas due to illness, we kept their gifts under the tree until we could all be together:

All three celebrations were lots of fun!  And I'm happy to report that everyone is well on the road to recovery!


  1. I like your secret Santa idea. I wish we would do that in our family. That dress you got for Jackie is adorable!

  2. Mia's dance recital was a great way to start the celebrations, Eileen. Love the photo of Mia and Jayden. They are growing up so fast.
    The Sunday brunch photos show that you all had a great time together.
    I'm so glad that Erik. Lori. Mia, and Sophie were able to be with you. I'm glad that they are feeling better.
    I love your family photos. I love your family!

  3. Oh I loved reading about your many Christmases (is that a word) and I love how you have posted your pictures. Everyone one looks great, each picture filled with love and happiness. Hope all stay well for the rest of the winter. Love Jackie's dress and the Chinese people......:-)Hugs

  4. I feel as though you made up for the Christmas that I missed! I love your secret Santa idea. It must be a bit easier to focus on one person! Love all your photos Eileen. Everyone looks very happy. Happy New Year!! Love Di ♥

  5. I love the variety of celebrations you enjoyed! Secret Santa is such a great idea - and the gifts you mentioned seem so very personal...

    Then the Chinese People exchange! This seems like a very, very special tradition.

    It was really heart-warming to see and read of your families' Christmases.

  6. What a wonderful time you had!! From Thanksgiving, Baptism and Christmas this will be one of the treasured memories of this Holy Season for me. Wishing you well, Dearest Friend!!! Cathy