My cousin mentioned this dinner at the Kid's Christmas Party that she hosted early in December, with a sidenote that she had told her father to invite everyone...so I probably wouldn't be told until the morning of the 24th.
"Just so you know...dinner is happening...and you're invited. I'll Facebook you."
Well, I hemmed and hawed about this dinner because Shake'n'Bake was with her dad all day Christmas Eve (she came back Christmas morning) and Boyfriend and I had planned a big nothing all day because we had two hectic days of family fun following it.
As the day approached and my cousin Facebooked me, I realized that I missed seeing my extended family...plus my cousin puts on an awesome spread...and it's awesome to be able to see everyone for Christmas.
We RSVP'd yes.
At 2pm on Christmas Eve I fed Splat then dressed her in her snowsuit and buckled her into her carseat to go. The panic had set in. Now you have to understand, my family is a little...well, you know, family-like...and this was Boyfriend's first time meeting most of them.
When he had asked me who was going to be there, I guessed.
"My cousin (you met her at the Christmas party), her son, her dad-uncle #2 (it's his house that we're going to), my parents, Brother, other cousin (Uncle #3's daughter) and her kids, and probably aunt and uncle #1 (you met uncle #1 when I moved last). I don't think Grandma will come because she hasn't been feeling well lately, and uncle #3 probably won't be there, and I doubt my aunt will make the 3 hour drive for dinner. Uncle #2 has 2 other kids, but his oldest just had twins, and since they're still in the hospital I don't think they'll come, and the youngest lives in a different province so he won't be there either."
(((HAHAHAHA I just reread that paragraph...good luck!)))
Well we arrived at about 3pm and as more and more people arrived it turned out I had guessed terribly wrong. Uncle #2 was there (it was his house we were at mind you) and his daughter (the dinner maker) and her son. Uncle #2's youngest son was there too (from a different province!!! I hadn't seen him in 6 years prior to Christmas Eve) with his new and pregnant wife. My parents came with Brother, uncle #1 came with his girlfriend (my aunt), uncle #3 and his wife came too, and so did uncle #3's daughter, her boyfriend, and her two kids. Later, a friend of dinner-cousin's came with her daughter (I think it was her daughter...I have no clue).
It was loud.
My family is loud.
Brother and I tried to give the breakdown to Boyfriend.
"Maintain eye contact with whomever is talking to you. Once eye contact is broken it is assumed that the story is over and the person will move on."
"Talk louder than everyone else, everyone is trying to talk louder than you."
And other various tidbits of information.
I was so worried that someone would say something offensive. My family is pretty...blunt...and I haven't exactly lived a model life so I'm a fairly easy target. I was amazed at how well it went. Everyone was pleasant and friendly; Splat was praised as adorable, social, and highly developed; and I had a fantastic time getting to catch up with a few family members that I haven't seen in a while.
My family is pretty comfortable with the buffet style spread. All the food is placed on some surface with plates at the 'start', then the chef calls dinner and everyone rushes to the food in an effort to put tons on your plate before someone else in the family devours it all.
I was first introduced to this style when I was child, my mother used to host the big Christmas Eve dinner and put it all out as a buffet style. Of course, this woman also used paper plates so we wouldn't have to wash as many dishes later.
My very talented cousin cooked an amazing spread that I proceeded to stuff myself with (getting in the occassional jab about balding to my dad) and then she put out four different kinds of dessert that I had no room for. (Yeah, I shoved half a piece of cherry chocolate cake into my face anyways)
Then we opened gifts, socialized for a bit longer, then took our grumpy little angel home for bed.
One down, three to go.