(Originally posted December 30, 2018)

Our Christmas celebrations started on December 26 this year. By noon, the house was full of family. Along with David and I, my daughter Michelle visiting from Oregon, my son Brian from Ventura County, and my son Matt and his girlfriend Lauren filled my heart with Mom-joy. We ate, opened gifts, then began a week of games, laughter, movies, and new traditions.

My three kids and I made Christmas cookies together – something that hasn’t happened in a long, long time. Someone still made off with a spoonful of raw dough, while another one swiped hot-out-of-the-oven thick, vanilla-scented cookies. Good to know some things stay the same no matter how old the “children” are.

We played card games including Rook (one I hadn’t played in over twenty years, but remembered and did quite well at), Uno, and The Game of Things. My kids love that last one most. When it’s my turn to read the answers, they make sure to give me lots of embarrassing things to say. This year was no different. With creativity and daring, they managed to make me laugh so hard I could only make squeaking sounds. Which led to more laughter and squeaking.

We played video games: PS3 and Nintendo Switch. Michelle is the reigning champion of Scene-It, a PS3 movie trivia game. This time she kept her crown, although one of these times, I’ll win. Said every year, and still not happened!

We watched a few holiday movies including Christmas Vacation. We even went to the mall for after Christmas gift card shopping, getting in some extra steps to help offset all the yummy meals we shared.

But mostly, we talked and laughed and enjoyed our time together. Six people hanging out, enjoying each other’s company.

Now the house is quiet again. We go back to our regular routines. But, this year I’m full of joy and memories from five days of fun with my family.

Do you have holiday traditions? Favorite games you play as a family? I'd love to hear about them.