Doreen's family

20 of 25
Doreen L.
Thanksgiving and Christmas usually consist of at least 25 people. I think 35 people is the most we've had to far. The family includes my hubby and me, three sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, my mother and a host of nieces and nephews home from college or work and several cousins too. Then there's the adopt-a-family tradition. It seems every year we have a few families over that don't have a place to go, or a small family that thought they just wanted to stay home. It's just not a holiday without a crowd of laughing, hungry people. All the ladies cook, and the guests bring a dish, so it's not a burden on any one person, other than making sure the house is clean and the pets are put away. We spend the weeks before preparing, going shopping (me and the in-laws) and figuring out the menu and who's bringing what.

The morning of, all the cooks usually blast music and the fun begins. We live about a mile from each other, so some of the kids in the family (ages 19 to 26) get to transport tables, food and chairs or whatever is needed. Then the time arrives and we all drive to the designated house and the food setup begins. We usually set up buffet style with about 15 to 20 different foods. We pray over the food and then the grub is on. For Thanksgiving, the kids usually go to the movies after and the adults clean up and read the Black Friday sale sheets and talk, laugh and reminisce. For Christmas, we do Secret Santa for all the adults, and all the adults get the kids presents. We hand out the gifts, and the girls all get socks and they take pictures in their socks. One of my nieces has a birthday the next day, so we usually clean up and get ready for her birthday party too.

Our tradition is being with family. We try to make sure the cousins grow up with each other so they can start their own traditions when they have their own families. I love my in-laws, and we have so much fun together. I wish I could invite the whole world to experience it the way I do. I love the holidays.

What does your family do that's unique for the holidays?