I picture a Martha Stewart Christmas as one where everything looks perfect, the food is all ready to eat at the same time, everyone is perfectly behaved, the conversation is delightful and no one talks on top of anyone else. I don’t know if anyone really has a Christmas gathering like that. I don’t know if Martha Stewart even really has a Christmas gathering like that. What I do know is that we most definitely did not have a Christmas gathering like that. In fact, I’m pretty sure we would have made ol’ Martha cringe a little. But gosh was it a good time!
First, we had a little pre-holiday gathering for a first ever cookie decorating competition. The reindeer were missing legs, the snowmen had weird noses, some people went with a very Jackson Pollack technique and Mom’s kitchen ended up with frosting everywhere. But we got the job done. Mom and Dad did the judging. It was not fair. Let’s just say that the competitive cookie decorating circuit is cutthroat and some competitors are not above bribery or batting their lashes at their grandfather in order to gain votes.
The winners were announced on Christmas Eve. In a tie for 5th we have Joe’s snowman and Kim’s candy cane. In 4th we have Kim’s angel. In 3rd, Hadley’s Rudolph. Second place went to Anne’s broken legged reindeer and the winner was Casey’s Christmas tree.
But the big prize of most dedicated and most cookies decorated went to Kim. She was the only one who really took the event seriously and she, in all honesty, probably should have placed higher than 5th and 4th. You’ll get em’ next year Kim.
That brings up to the main event on Christmas Eve. It all started with some cinnamon rolls before feeding.
Then things got interesting. Casey forgot to put the peas in Grandma’s layered salad. I told her, if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing right, so maybe she should start over. Mom told her, “it will be fine dear, don’t you worry about it”. The youngest can get away with anything I tell you! She did make her famous taco dip up to it’s usual standards though, so I’ll give her a pass on the salad this time.
Here’s a question for you. How many cowboys does it take to fry a turkey? Apparently quite a few.
Jason brought it in and immediately began trying to explain….something about how hard it was to account for the wind and maybe the thermometer might not be totally accurate, a lot of nonsense like that. We just did not have high hopes for that turkey.
But in the end it actually was not bad at all. I still ate the prime rib though.
Then there were the potatoes. I followed the Pioneer Woman’s recipe exactly. Ree would have been proud. I don’t know what went wrong exactly but it was the oven’s fault. They were in there at 400 degrees covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 20 more and they were slightly warm but basically still raw. So we switched to the other oven and filled up on hor d’ oeuvres. After all at that point the potatoes were raw, the salad was missing it’s peas and the turkey looked like this.
So hör d’ oeuvres seemed like a pretty good bet at that point.
But in the end it was all quite delicious and we’d all wished we had saved more room. And after years of training Justin finally know’s his place….at the kids table.
Then I made everyone sit for a photo or two.
Then it was present time. I’ve heard that some folks have very orderly gift openings, where one person at a time opens a present and everyone takes turns and that way everyone knows who got what from whom. It sounds really nice and I can see how it would be a good idea. We go with a slightly different format. It’s called Christmas explosion.
Casey recruits a couple of kids – this year it was Anne and Hadley – and they start handing out (throwing, tossing, sliding) presents to people and then there is an explosion of paper and bows and it’s all over in approximately 3 1/2 minutes. Then people start saying things like, “is that one mine or yours?”, “now who gave me this?”, “wait a minute, where’d my new scarf go? I just had it?”, “I opened this but I’m not sure it was suppose to go to me, does anyone know who it was suppose to go to?”. It is total and complete chaos. But that’s just they way we’ve always done it, it’s tradition now, there’s no changing it.
Then after dessert and dishes more chaos erupted. And the really impressive thing is that Dad napped through it all.
There was a really loud rock band concert. The only song they could get through to the end without getting boo’d off the stage was “The Eye of the Tiger”. So they played it about one hundred and fourteen times. I think it will be stuck in my head until next Christmas.
There was ping pong.
There was a helicopter flying around.
There was repeated knocking down of carefully built paper cup towers.
All of this was happening at the same time. Toga was stuck in the mud room barking like crazy trying to figure out exactly what the heck was happening. Dad even got hit smack in the forehead with a nerf bullet. He woke up for a second and said “what happened?” Kim said, “they shot you in the forehead with a nerf gun.” He said, “oh, that’s what that was.” And went right back to sleep. It takes true talent to sleep through all that.
Back to the nerf war for a minute. I declared at the beginning that I was a journalist and therefore could not be targeted. Let’s just say some people have no respect for the Geneva Conventions. Casey thought I was aiding Jamie in locating more ammunition (I was but I was also planning on giving the other half to her if she would have just given me half a chance) so she shot me in the eye. I wear a patch now and my depth perception is totally screwed up. Not really but it did really sting and I plan to keep acting like my vision is blurry whenever she’s around at least for the next couple of days.
You know what they say, “it’s all fun and games until someone shoots their eye out.”
Speaking of eyes, Jamie still can not take a picture with her eyes open.
Also, Chase learned how to take a selfie.
And Alex ate chocolate.
By the end of the night everyone was totally exhausted, totally happy and completely grateful (especially those that still had both their eyes). Martha may have frowned upon a few things but we wouldn’t have had it any other way, chaos and all.
Whether you had a Martha Stewart Christmas or something closer to our Christmas chaos I hope it was wonderful.
Oh, and one last thing before I forget. Meet Dixie!