This past Saturday for the 31st time in Akron, Ohio, members of our community were treated to a fantastic (free) Tuba Christmas concert.
It was held at the EJ Thomas Performing Arts Center and conducted by University of Akron Music Professor Tucker Jolly. 480 musicians gathered to share their talents with 5600 in attendance at two performances.
I think there were two dozen of our family that were present. It was a light-hearted, informal event, with lots of decorated tubas, and many members of the orchestra and audience decked themselves with Santa hats and jingle bells.
First the tubas would play a traditional Christmas carol, and then the conductor would turn to the audience and everyone would sing along the second time through.
We had a great time ~~ and immediately afterwards we gathered for our extended family's annual Christmas party...
top, from left: Marcella, Barb, Cindy, me~ bottom from left: Bob, Mom and Don
For mom's Christmas present, the six of us are giving her a trip to the beach with ALL of us and our spouses in June! We've been saving up for it and we have reserved a huge beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
We made this poster board and a notebook with all the details in large print for her to look at later on when she had a chance to absorb it all...We were afraid she somehow had gotten wind of our plans because about a week ago she said "I know you guys are up to something..." and come to find out, she thought we were buying her new pots and pans for her newly redone kitchen! So we were happy she was really surprised!
My mom's next door neighbor, Anna, offered to be Mrs. Claus for our party this year. My siblings and I provide gifts for the youngest children, mom's great-grandchildren, by drawing names. We left them outside the door of the party room, and Mrs. Claus stuffed them into her bag before coming in. I was a little nervous that my granddaughter would recognize her because she sees her all the time. I asked her, "Do you know who that is?" and she giggled and said, "yes! That's Santa's wife!"
20 years ago at our family party, mom had HER grandchildren decorate their dads as if they were Christmas trees...and I was actually able to dig out a few pictures to pass around. So this year we had the newest generation...the children of THOSE children...get their turn. It was a LOT of fun!
Finally, we play our gift exchange game for the adults. Each of us brings a wrapped $10 gift and we put it in a pile in the middle of the floor. We go around the circle and each takes a gift and opens it...OR...steals one that has already been opened! Each gift may only be "stolen" three times.
The younger kids are watching Charlie Brown Christmas while we play our game. We have a great time being together...and it works out well that have have a place that can accomodate all of us. There were about 30 of us this year!
We will be celebrating for two more weekends...! I just love Christmas!
♫ ...Love and Joy Come to you, and to you Glad Christmas too... ♫