Christmas Family Tradition

This is my niece Carrie and her son's Joe on the left and Owen on the right. This is the first picture on the 2008 Petty Calendar that Barb is making for my mother. I think Owen is the January birthday.

This handsome young man is Kieth, the husband and gonna be father (Aug 08). He is a southern gentleman and his white elephant gift was the gorilla until someone rudely took it and I'm not sure what he went home with.

This is my niece Janet and her two daughters Amanda and Amy. Amy is the new bride of the gorilla holder above.

This is my niece Kim and her family. From left to right, Kim, Austin, Kenny and AJ or Andrew.

My family has for years tried to get together sometime prior to Christmas on a Saturday for a family get together. That leaves the actual Christmas day for close family celebration. Today was such a day for us. In spite of a winter storm coating the outside with snow we all met at my sister's in Lawrence. Our special guests this year were my mother and our niece Amy and her husband Kieth. I went to Oklahoma Thursday to bring her up and she came in spite of the travails of travel. Amy and her husband are expecting their first child sometime in August. Her sister Mandy came back to Kansas earlier this year but this was the first time we were able to get to visit with her also.
The meal of our family gathering is every one's favorite soup. We all bring a pot of the best we can and today was no different. I made a sea food gumbo with a side of rice. There was also a white Chili, an Italian meatball and pasta (pasta fajoli?), a taco soup, a potato soup and lots of desserts and side appetizers. The first soup to disappear was the gumbo. It had lots of shrimp, crab meat, chicken, sausage and okra. Lots of people told me it was good so I guess it was pretty good I had a little of everything and it was all good.
Our activity is the white elephant gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift and we take turns selecting the gifts and opening them. This year we went by birth date. The person born the earliest in the year got to select one gift and open it. The next person could either select take that gift or chose their own. On and on the selecting their choice and opening goes on until everyone had a chance to choose/open a gift. The first person had one final chance to choose any gift and exchange it for the one they finally wound up with. It is a hoot, because while most of the gifts are re-gifted for year to year, some of people slip in a nice gift. There was a bottle of wine and someone bought a Santa style hat with KU on it. I brought an old pair of Cowboy boots and one of the kids opened it because it was in a pretty KU sack. On my turn I took back the boots and the kid got to select a sack with a toy truck in it. I think it was fun even though at least one other person took home the gift they brought. It is not the gift that is important, it is the laughs and comments we all share.
There is no doubt in my mind that getting together as a family is one of the nicest things I've done all year. I hope you all have a family tradition that brings you closer together as a family.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
PS, the ice was all gone when the thunder snow storm hit. It started with a 15-30 MPH wind and then it started to snow. About a half an hour into the storm the visibility was about 1/8 to 1/4 mile and the wind kept the snow blowing south for the first hour or so. By about 2 PM we started home and the roads were just getting drifted in spots. Their is either no snow or a drift of about two feet. The porch rail has at least 8 inches stacked up on it. It is on the south side of the house and is generally a pretty good gauge of the amount of snow that falls.


  1. My thanks to you for bringing the best gift of all, Grandma. It was great seeing everyone and the gumbo was outstanding! Can't wait for pictures from that wonderful wife of yours. Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and your family.

  2. Great photos. It would be fun to do something similar on our side too.
    Drive safe..
    Merry Christmas !