The way it should be

I just spent the afternoon with over thirty people. No, I wasn't amid the mob of people at the mall. We celebrated Christmas early with Ryan's family. Ryan's immediate family... all thirty some of us. It was controlled chaos. I loved it. Every. Single. Minute.

Those in attendance: Ryan's parents, grandma, two sisters, four step-sisters, numerous nieces and nephews and a stray aunt and uncle. We were missing a brother-in-law, a step-brother and his wife plus a nephew and his family.

It just wouldn't be the holidays without being surrounded by family. As a kid we always raced to my grandma's after Christmas Eve mass. Literally raced because the first kid there got to put baby Jesus in the manger of her Nativity set. Even after 26 years I have yet to be the first to Grandma's and get the honor of putting baby Jesus in his bed.

The entire house was filled with laughter and food. Oy the food! Soon after everyone had their fill the kids made the rounds begging someone to announce that it was time to open presents. After a flurry of wrapping paper erupted, the men moved to the upstairs table to play cards. The women fluttered around the kitchen while the young kids played with their new toys in the living room. The older kids took over the pool table.

The celebration continued. For hours. As the younger kids started giving in to sleep, the cars were started and the goodbyes said.

It was loud. It was crazy. It's the way Christmas should be.

**I wish I had pictures to share, but amid making apple dumplings and chocolate covered pretzels - my camera still sits next to the door where I forgot it this morning.