Back in November, or was it October, I sent an ambitious e-mail out to my family about making plans for Christmas. I suggested all sorts of get-togethers, feasts and activities, (i.e. brunch with the extended Mackinlay family, toboganning at Seymour, skiing at Cypress, baking cookies for the Salvation Army, handing out cookies at the S.A, Christmas Eve fondue and nativity, Christmas Day gift exchange and dinner, New Years adult-only party at Kim's place, etc....). The idea was to make our Christmas season feel organized and satisfy our need for family-time. Well, I think, overall, it all worked out... Well, sort of. By the time the New Years party came along, Jeff and I bailed out since all we wanted was a little quiet time to veg-out at home.
Early December started with school plays. Callum was one of a thousand Elves (somewhere in the top left?):
While Max was the Christmas Star in his little nativity (which, coincidentally, was Callum's role in his 3-year old Preschool too!):
The snow on the mountains this year has been awesome, so we spent a few days on the North Shore. One of which was sledding with Kim, Krista and Karlyn while Jeff skate-skied afterwards with Sven - it was a lot of fun!
In an attempt to help teach my kids
how blessed they are, I called around to find a place that would let us
hand out some cookies to people who couldn't have a Christmas dinner at
home. So, since we needed about 200 packs of goodies for The Langley
Gateway of Hope, I enlisted the help of the extended Mackinlay family.
On Christmas Eve, a bunch of us handed them out after their meal. I'm not sure Callum and Max really understood what we were doing there,
but I tried.
Christmas Day proceeded as expected - lots of presents and food!
There was a brief break before my big family came over for more gifts and more food. I think Jeff is still overwhelmed by the seemingly endless abundance of gifts that come with my family. I think next year we might try something a little less, well, just LESS.
Dinner, however, was pleasantly unstressful and still delicious. Brent and Jeff did turkeys, Rob did a Ham and others brought the side dishes.
It's a funny thing, Christmas time, because we want to spend time with those we love, we want to share food and give gifts, we want to create traditions and memories... but we often end up feeling rather spoiled, greedy, and maybe just a little, I don't know, like we are missing the point, somehow. It's as though all the feasting and presents are actually defeating the purpose all-together. I know that part of it is just a result of having such a large family - when a few siblings exchange gifts, it is kind and thoughtful, but when 26 people exchange gifts, it seems materialistic and anonymous... you know what I mean? Hmm. A conundrum.