Wisconsin Christmas

 We spent last weekend in Wisconsin with my family, still celebrating Christmas. Lots of fun and laughter, as well as good times connecting a bit more with extended family that we rarely see. 

Me and mom wearing some lovely Christmas headbands.

 Last year was the year of the ugly sweaters. This year each family was to come up with a "family theme." This added dimension makes Christmas so much more fun!

Brian's family went with the '90s theme and Brian played the part of a very effeminate man.

Brett's family theme - ugly sweaters again!

My mom's family theme - bring on the sparkle!

Our family theme - doctors/nurses - so we all wore scrubs.
My brother Todd's family theme - 1970s. Last year Todd received a gag gift of an old Eddie Rabbitt album. He took this poster from that album and came as Eddie Rabbitt this year. So hilarious. He spent months planning this and creating the look. So spot-on.   

Here are the 4 of us "kids" with my mom. Lovely, I know!


And just the 4 of us - me with my 3 brothers. 

This is a great picture.
My son and his cousin Trinity are both 5. 
My daughter and her cousin Christa are both 9. The cousins had so much fun playing together. 

Even my son (wearing his scrubs) liked wearing the mistletoe headband. 

Thumbs up for a gift from Grandma. 

My girl waiting to open her gift. The kids open gifts first, then the adults settle in for 1-by-1 opening, so we can all see what each one opens. Gifts are a fun part of the family Christmas event, as almost half of them are gag gifts that keep us all in stitches.

We introduced my mom to the game Settlers of Catan while we were visiting. She enjoyed it and won, but asked if they could keep the game going anyway because it was so fun. 

My dad hosted a Christmas celebration too. Here is a picture of my dad with all of the current grandchildren, ranging from 3-17 years old. 

Our Christmas celebrations have changed so much over the years. I fondly remember getting together at my grandparents' homes - but now they have passed on or aren't able to host the events any longer. I am so glad that some traditions have kept on - such as eating lefse as part of our Norwegian heritage. And it's fun to see new elements added - such as the giving of gag gifts to lighten the mood. As a child, I remember being so focused on the presents. Now I am focused on the presents too - but not on what I'm getting as much as the fun things we're giving. I can't wait to see the looks on the recipient's face when they open a gift we've picked out just for them, to make them laugh!

This year we also changed this up in one other way. My 3 brothers and I always draw names at Thanksgiving. We agree to spend $25 on the other sibling/couple we draw. This year, we agreed to donate that $25 to a charity in their name instead. It was meaningful to open cards and read about the charity that was chosen and the good being done in the world as a result. That $100 didn't get spent in vain, didn't buy an item someone may or may not use or want. That $100 went to worthwhile causes and I hope that is a tradition we can continue each year.


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