Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories*: December 22 - Christmas Homecoming

We're not quite sure when it started, but the Nelson family has gathered for a big family dinner one Saturday close to Christmas for probably the past thirty years. This event has even taken on its own name, "The Very Nelson Christmas", VNC for short. E-mails, texts, and conversations about it fondly use that term these days.

Besides the families of my husband and his brothers, it has also included various in-laws, cousins, and "friends". The family all knows that bringing someone really special to the VNC is tantamount to an engagement announcement.

The food is unbelievable -- turkey and dressing, ham, my sister-in-law's macaroni and cheese, vegetables from summer gardens, salads, everyone contributing something wonderful. And then, the desserts. It is so worth dieting the week before and after.

By the time everyone finally gets there, all surfaces in the kitchen and breakfast room are covered with wonderful things to eat. The 30+ of us find a seat at one of the tables around the house. These days we have The Brothers' Table (our generation), The Kids' Table (our children and spouses), and The Little Ones' Table. Regardless of where we sit, there is a lot of laughter, plus table-hopping is allowed.

Weather permitting, after the fabulous meal, there might be some football or basketball played outside while others find a quiet corner to snooze or read or continue to catch up on family news. We'll gather near the tree for family pictures. The afternoon ends with a cut-throat Christmas gag gift grab. Gifts have ranged from a goldfish to "cute" holiday lawn decorations to the sign pictured above; gone are the early days of giving Starbucks or McDonald's gift cards. Every once in a while, a really nice gift appears, and the good-natured smack talk rises to a new level. It is as much fun to watch the gift grab as it is to participate. As for that sign at the beginning of this post, it is now displayed in the home of one of my children who delighted in "stealing" it from a cousin.

Finally it is time to gather up plates of great left-overs for the road. Time for another round of hugs and Christmas wishes. Time to look forward to next year's Very Nelson Christmas.

*The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family's holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at

No comments:

Post a Comment