Two posts in one day! Didn't think I could do it, did you? We now continue with the "Christmas in Wyoming" series. This time, we will focus on Christmas Eve.
A little background info ...
Christmas Eve, in the past, was a huge event for the Jones family. It included my grandparents, aunt and uncle (yes, singular ... my dad only has 1 sister) and cousins. A grand total of 2 grandparents, 4 parents, and 11 kids ... and a partridge in a pear tree. As I got older I realized this was not a large family gathering (especially by Mormon standards), but it felt like the biggest party ever when I was little.
Christmas Eve was always hosted by the Harris family (our cousins). It consisted of a large, traditional meal, lots of talking by the adults and playing by the children, followed by a talent show. Over the years we have added a few more traditions: English crackers, a white elephant gift game, and non-serious talents. I think these came about out of necessity because as kids grew up and got married and moved away, Christmas Eve became slightly boring. And short. With the addition of the new traditions, the night is a long, exciting laugh-fest, much like the Christmas Eves I remember fondly as a kid.
This year there was an amazing turnout (apparently) for Christmas Eve. Mom and dad (they hosted), Aunt Marsha, Cousin John and wife Jona, 2/3 of my sisters--Emily and Kate, and the 4 of us. (We were also joined for dinner by a friend and her dad.) Holy cow! That's quite the party! (Okay, yes, you detect a little sarcasm, but it really did seem like a huge crowd when I was little.) Here we are watching old videos of past Christmas Eves (dad and Marsha in their cracker crowns). Ah, the good old days. Good times! Seriously.
I had to put this picture in because it shows Emily (on TV) as the talent show director for one Christmas Eve a good number of years ago. Oh, how I wish you could see the shoulder pads better!
Owen, cheesing away, as usual.
Owen, on Mama Jones' rocking horse. He would crawl up on thing all by himself, rock away, and get back down. So cute.
Here we are getting ready for Round 1 of the white elephant game. Owen knows how it's done. He just grabbed a present and ...
ripped away! We had to repair a few wrapping jobs.
One of Evan's "white elephants." (He got special "good" presents so as to keep him happy and not upset that he was getting something like an old walkman or a jellybean-pooping reindeer or some horrible thing like that. Oh wait, he would have loved those, I'm sure.)
Dad, Frodo and Mom, mid-game. This is serious business, folks.
Emily and Kate, waiting to perform Emily's talent, opera singing. (I'm still a little unclear on this one. I can't quite figure out if it's her "real" talent and she's just no Pavarotti (very close, though!), or if it's her non-serious talent.) Either way, it was hilarious as she sang (er, tried to--she laughed a lot!) "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with her flashing nose.
John, Jona and Marsha, anxiously awaiting the song. Do you see the excitement???
This is me, trying REALLY hard not to wet my pants!
Emily, mid-song. (I'm pretty sure this is the part where she sang, "shouted out with glee ... whoopee!")
Kate, the piano-accompanying reindeer.
Here is Jona, looking so cute before her clogging routine. I think it was by far the best serious talent of the evening.
Ah, yes. A blast from the past. See, back in the day, a young John would carry a much younger Kate in on his shoulders, wearing a trench coat, so she looked like a tall, strange, dancing girl. They recreated this incredible talent of John's this year with a 21-year-old, 5' 11"(?)-tall Kate on a 29-year-old John's shoulders. It's a good thing he's a Marine or this probably never could have happened. Way to go, guys!
Look at those glasses! Those have been in the costume box for years! Classic!
One talent you didn't see was a video of "Oh Cristmas Tree" played by Kate, Kate, Kate, Myself, Myself, and Myself on Wii Music. Seriously awesome. Casey also did a great job with his annual Xactware Christmas video, a parody of "The Office." Did I miss anything?
The evening ended, as did every Christmas Eve in the past, with Dad's Nativity video. It has evolved from a slideshow of photos of mom's nativities with a live narrator and music on a CD player to a DVD of photos of mom's nativities, complete with narration and music, but it is the same great scriptural story of the birth of the baby Jesus as it has always been. This was 11:00 at night, or so, and Evan is trying so hard to stay awake. He actually asked to take a nap after this.
It was such a fun night. I'm glad so many people came and that we were able to be a part of it. Thanks for the good times, everyone!
Tomorrow, the "Christmas in Wyoming" series continues with Christmas Day. (No, I am not doing another post tonight!)