Our family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve at my mother's house. I used this camera (per a post from Ali's Blog linking to Elsie's blog) to take the photos above. (Some people took their photos so I have no record 🙁 I am encouraging certain people to mail their photos back to me so I can at least get them scanned in.)
This year, I went over on the 23rd to help with the preparations. I made Parker House Rolls this year, The Pioneer Woman's recipe, and here are the results:
110 rolls raising in the laundry room at Mom's house (the warmest place). I had every intention of documenting the evening, but as people arrived and we were trying to entertain and get food ready, the concept of taking photos just flew out the window. Mom told everyone to be there by 3:00 p.m., and we ate dinner at 6:00 p.m., much later than we wanted to, but that's just how it goes.
Here were some of the appetizers. I make the penguin on the veggie tray every year, and we also had salmon mousse, baked sweet onion dip, a cheese ball, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp, chips and dip and the veggie tray. For dinner, we had beef tenderloin with brandy cream sauce, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes and onions, green bean casserole, sweet potato pudding, sauteed mushrooms, and of course, the Parker House Rolls. For dessert, Mom made an applesauce cake and pecan tarts, and my brother's girlfriend made me a birthday cake (German Chocolate, my favorite) which was so sweet. Everything was really good, and my stepfather made the sweet potato pudding, and the beef tenderloin, and my aunt made the cheese ball, and Mom and I systematically tackled the rest. When it was time to eat, I was so tired, I wasn't even hungry. As good as everything is, I think we need a new plan for next year, like heavy appetizers and everyone brings a dish or two so that we can all enjoy the evening.
After dinner, we all sat down and opened gifts, which is so much fun, especially seeing the kids opening their gifts. Kids get SO MUCH STUFF, and my nieces went home with a stack of gifts that would have covered at least four Christmases from my own childhood. That's part of the reason I have opted out of the gift giving for the kids (a couple of small things, and that's all) and then I buy them a savings bond. Then the kids have Christmas morning at home, and go and see other relatives and get even more stuff. I think it's that way for all kids now, and adults too, we all get way too much stuff, more than we'll ever use.
We all had a great time, and I went to bed exhausted and happy while Mom cleaned the kitchen (she insisted).