Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frericks Christmas Eve

To catch you up on our holidays, I’ll devote this post to Christmas Eve which is when we host the big Frericks family Christmas with all of Ken’s brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and their children invited. Ken comes from a family of ten so this is the only time of the year anyone tries to invite everyone to one house!

We would easily have over 100 people if everyone was able to attend but the actual attendance this year by my estimate was 60. Since she is not often out of her wheelchair anymore, it is becoming more difficult to get Grandma Frericks to these events, particularly since, for this number of guests, we host downstairs. This is when we take full advantage of Kyle and Trevor’s strength and have them carry Grandma in her wheelchair down the steps and then back up at the end of the night.

On the other end of the family age spectrum, little great-nephew, Aiden, made his entrance by sliding down the steps!

Many made efforts to get family pictures with grandma.

Our family picture was in last post but here’s the one of Ken’s sister Lois and her family with Grandma. This family has had a difficult Christmas since Erin and BJ’s father, Bruce, passed away just a week earlier at age 60. It’s been a very difficult season for all of us with deaths. Since October, we’ve lost a niece, an uncle, a brother-in-law, a coach, a close friend from church and a young man the boys age with whom both played high school sports.…but I digress…back to the joys of the holiday.

As my contribution to the meal, I cooked 2 turkeys and 3 hams.

Ditka took the job of being the official ‘ham guard’. He stood at the kitchen counter, directly below the ham, for literally hours guarding the hams as we rotated them through baking, cooling, carving.

Everyone brings a covered dish and we provided the drinks. I had too much ham but with Trevor home until mid-January, I’m not too concerned about leftovers!

There were several toasts in our bar area in honor of Kyle and Jenni’s engagement. Kyle had mentioned he might have difficulty making morning Mass with Jenni’s family if cousin Joe made it to the party and I did notice that most of the ‘toast’ pictures included Joe!! (Kyle suffered through it though and was up by 7am to leave for Mass with Jenni—boy, it really must be love!!)

As usual the foosball table, was center stage for many of the younger crowd.

The highlight of the evening is the ‘switcheroo’ game that is open to anyone high school age or older. If you want to participate you buy a $25 gift that you expect most anyone would enjoy receiving.

Ken passes out numbers equal to the number of gifts. This year there were 26 participants. The person with #1 opens a gift. The person who had drawn #2 can either ‘steal’ the opened gift or open a new one. If you have your gift stolen you can then steal form someone else.

By the time you get to the last numbers there is a LOT of stealing going on as well as a lot of teasing and ‘negotiating’!.

The little one’s gather in the center with the gifts and help pass them around, unwrap and throw away the paper. We’ve learned over the years that buying gifts such as cute little stuffed animals can be a problems since you can end up with a teary toddler if someone snatches such a gift from their parent!

Those who chose not to play the game used the nearly 2 hours of game play as a good time to get through the buffet line. This actually worked well for us since not everyone was trying to eat at one time.

Over the years the game has really gotten pretty crazy and some have started ‘alliances’ to try to figure out how to get the gifts they want most. It’s all in fun. This year we decided to break ‘alliances’ by passing out playing cards every fifth round and anyone who got an Ace got to tell any two other folks they had to switch gifts. It’s always interesting to see which gifts are the hot items for the year. This year a rice cooker/steamer and a beautiful Italian porcelain mask Joe brought (he is currently stationed in Italy) seemed to get a lot of attention.

As always, everyone had a lot of fun with it.

As we were at the door seeing everyone off, I noticed that some of the kids had fun phone repositioning some of Ken's decorations so that they were bidding everyone farewell from the staircase

....a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Hugs, C

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