We had our family thing last night at my parent's house. All the sibs and spouses except my youngest sister and her husband in Memphis made it, including my uncle from the coast and my mother's cousin and her husband. These things go MUCH more smoothly when my mother starts on the wine/martinis/whatever before we get there. Nobody had assigned seats and we didn't have to raise our hands this year to talk. The traditional Christmas gumbo was wonderful, as usual, and my brother and his wife brought red beans and rice. Unfortunately, they don't have kids and lived alone for many years until they married this past April, so they're sort of unclear on the concept of cooking for more than 2. Doubling the recipe doesn't quite cover feeding 15 or so adults. On the other hand, I've always had a houseful of people to feed so I'm sort of unclear on the concept of cooking for 2 now that my DH and I are alone so much.
The kids were entertaining as always and I should know by now not to sit close enough to Nick and Bryndan to hear them talking. I usually wind up embarrassing myself by bursting out laughing at inappropriate times from their muttered comments. The upside to that is I was far enough away from Cory to miss most of her pithy observations. She was sitting next to her dad though so he was the one doing the inappropriate laughing, which sort of spread the embarrassment around evenly. Nick and Bryndan had some sort of betting thing going on where they were calling out colors, or making responses to the gifts being opened BEFORE they were open too. The really funny part was how often the comments were dead on for whatever the gift happened to be.
I think my brother summed things up pretty well about our family during a conversation with my mom and oldest daughter too. My mother had asked her about the Marriage and Family class she took at State and my brother's response was "How do you think she did, coming from a family where the girls get guns and the boys get tea sets?" My B-I-L gave me a Daisy air pellet pistol (which I think is a totally cool gift) and DH gave my brother a beautiful Japanese tea set and tea ceremony book. Nobody had even thought anything about the strangeness of either until my brother made the comment about guns and tea sets. Maybe that says volumes about the family all by itself.
All in all it was a pleasant evening with good food, good company, good wine and a noticeable lack of any discord. That alone made it a nice, relaxing night.
The canvas floor cloth made a huge hit too, and I'd show it off and brag about it if I hadn't had my head up my butt and forgotten, yet AGAIN, to get a picture of the finished product. You'll just have to take my word for it that it looks pretty cool under the table it was made for and the colors work as well as I hoped they would.