We're packing today and getting ready for a quick trip to Atlanta. It's our tradition to spend Christmas with my mother and sisters and their families, and I can't wait to get there. We'll spend most of Thursday catching up with everyone and getting ready for the big meal. Then we'll have dinner—I think we're up to 18 people now, but I lose count when it comes to setting the tables.
We'll pull out the best China from my grandmother's cabinet, and we'll use the silver service from the wooden boxes tucked away in the buffet. There will be crystal glasses that ring when you run your finger around the rim, cloth napkins at each place setting and nostalgic music playing on the record player. Someone will putz around on the piano a little, and someone will remark that my mother really needs to get rid of those nasty felt elves with the plastic heads, the ones she lines up on the mantel every year. I'll probably be that someone.
After dinner and after the kitchen is cleaned up, we'll each find a seat in the living room and pass out the song books. We'll sing through our favorite carols in four-part harmony with one of us at the piano, and then the younger kids will pass out the mountain of presents surrounding the tree. It'll work out to two or three per person, although my mother will end up with a big stack at her feet. We'll open our presents one at a time so everyone can remark at each single gift. Then we'll have coffee and some kind of dessert and call it a day.
Then on Christmas day, we'll dig into the leftover cornbread dressing straight from the fridge, cold. Later, we'll go to my sister's house for brunch and for playing cards and for laying around watching movies. Or maybe we'll wait awhile and go later for a low-country boil dinner. Either way, we'll have two solid days to spend together. Like I said, I can't wait.
In line with my seasonal excitement, here are some Christmasy photos. Eustacia took my camera for a tour around the house, and this is what she saw.
First, the stockings above the fireplace:
Then an angel on the tree:
Tiger guarding the tree just before launching into the lower branches and scattering pine needles all over the floor, the little dear: