20. Family

Today, as is tradition every year on the weekend before Christmas, my family had their annual Christmas party. There’s always a TON of food – and by ton I mean RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS – and we do a white elephant gift exchange. This year there were 30 people that had to steal presents from each other and fight for the best one.

I got a Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head and Juno on DVD. Some people got candy, hot chocolate, lottery tickets and my cousin got a Snuggie. I purchased a Bump-It for the exchange, which ended up going to one of my male cousins, who’s a freshman in high school. Ha.

I love my family. A lot. I have a big family on both sides – mom’s the youngest of six and dad’s the oldest of seven so lots of aunts, uncles, cousins – and am very lucky to be close with both sides. My dad’s side all lives in town so we see them more often and we have several big get-togethers during the year. Christmas is one of my favorites, because unlike Derby and some other smaller parties, it’s one of the times you know for sure that everyone in the whole family will be there. And with the exception of one of my cousins, tonight, everyone was there.

We took part in our new annual tradition of splitting into groups and singing 12 Days of Christmas. Each group gets a different day and we all take turns, of course. Last night my cousin Caitlin, my sister’s boyfriend, Chuckie and I were number 7. After we realized everyone was assigning different objects to their number – like Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon, Five Kings Burping, to which my youngest cousin, Kaleb added a little burp every time – we made ours 7 Single Ladies and did a very short version of the Beyonce dance to that song. It usually results in lots and lots of laughing, some pretty impressive creativity and about five minutes of voice warm-ups, preparation and organizing.

It’s my new favorite Christmas tradition at the family party and it gets funnier every year. And one of several of my favorite memories of my grandpa – who passed away last summer – is from that sing-a-long. The first year we did it, he and my cousin Aaron, who’s the next oldest after me, were day 10, I think. They sang “10 Lords-A-Leaping,” I think, and the best part was that every time it got to them, they sang in a very, very low voice and held their arms out like opera singers.

Like I said, I love my family. I love that we have fun together. I love that we play games like Taboo with almost 20 people involved. I love that I am lucky enough to have such a great group of people in my life. I could go on and on and on and on but it’s late and I have a Survivor finale to finish.

Seriously though. They’re awesome. And they’re my favorite every time of year, of course. But there’s something about having a group of more than 30 people who care about you that you get to spend so much time with and not mind at all that makes it great enough to be on this little list.

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