We had a busy couple days celebrating Christmas with family.

Christmas Eve

After Namine and I got back from seeing the Nutcracker, we picked up Jessica from home and my grandpa from his house, and headed over to my mom’s house.

It’s a tradition for us to celebrate Christmas Eve with lasagna. My mom cooks Christmas dinner now, but it’s my grandfather’s recipe, passed down from his folks.

The evening was a bit staggered at first. When we sat down to eat, it was just me, Jessica, Namine, my grandpa, and my mom. My dad and sister joined us when they got home, since they were performing in the church service. My brother and his wife arrived a little later, when we were in the living room opening presents.

Christmas morning

Jessica and I started our own Christmas tradition: almond rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. We got up early — a bit later than we’d originally planned, but it still felt too early — and started making breakfast. We like cinnamon rolls well enough, but almond rolls have them beat every time.

Jessica and I made the rolls — if I’m being totally honest, Jessica did most of it — and when the time came to make the frosting, Namine was up so she helped me with that. We opened up some presents while we waited for the rolls to rise, and then opened some more when they went into the oven.

Before we let Namine open most of her presents, we first gave her a sort-of gag gift. But first, I have to explain. It’s practically a tradition in my family — and I’m sure my sister hates this — to say, when someone opens a present that’s inside a box, “It’s a box!” Well, one of Namine’s presents is that: just a box.

There was a real reason behind this, I promise. And we did explain to Namine, too; Namine had asked for a butterfly for Christmas. Not a real butterfly, but more like the other butterflies that we have hanging in our living room. (And I don’t even know where we found those, but it was a long time ago.) We couldn’t find any. The only butterfly thing we’d been able to find was this (very nice, I might add) butterfly box. Still, the look on her face when Jessica and I said, “It’s a box!” and she opened it to find… it was just a box.

After that, Namine was allowed to open her actual presents. (I’m not completely evil, I swear. Though I did wrap one of Jessica’s presents like three or four times.)

Christmas Day with family

In the afternoon, we went down to Jessica’s sister’s house. We went a little early so that Namine could play with her cousin before a bunch of people arrived. The adults don’t buy presents for each other (more on that in a bit), so the presents opening was less organized than it otherwise would have needed to be.

The meal is typically a buffet kind of deal, so people eat when they’re hungry, and eat some more when they’re hungry again. Since we had breakfast but no lunch at home, we had a small drawn-out lunch, snacks, then a little more for dinner. Or maybe it was just one long meal. I don’t really know.

As I mentioned before, the adults don’t really buy presents for each other. Instead, every adult buys a five-dollar gift and a five-dollar gift card. Then we roll all of it together in a mass of cling wrap, and we play a game. I don’t know the name of this game, but it is hectic and fun.

The rules are simple, and aside from the cling-wrapped ball of gifts (non-breakable is important, kids), all you need is a pair of dice and a pair of oven mitts. (Mitts, not gloves; this is also important.) So, the rules:

While it is your turn, you wear the oven mitts and try to unwrap the cling wrap ball. Whatever objects you unwrap are yours. The person whose turn it will be next rolls the dice. When they roll doubles, your turn ends and their turn begins. As soon as their turn begins, the next person can begin rolling for doubles.

The result is this madness. Enjoy.

Husband. Daddy. Programmer. Artist. I'm not an expert, I just play one in real life.