Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas at the Farm

All of our married years we have gone "home" for Christmas to visit family. Like most years we started with Todd's family. The drive was slow going because of freezing rain, but we were not late for dinner--it is difficult to be late for dinner at the Norris Farmhouse even if you are really late there will be tons of leftovers. The big farmhouse fills up fast just before Christmas...Todd's sister was already there as well as his aunt, uncle and cousin from Baltimore. His other uncle still lives in the original house with his family so they were in and out the entire time we were there. Chad was able to arrive late on Christmas Night so we could all be together for a couple of days.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring except for....
Aunt Carole who never stops stirring. She keeps us all busy and entertained. She especially likes to take time for the little ones. Here she is reading a bedtime story. The big lump on the floor next to M and T is Tim, Todd's 23 yo cousin.
On Christmas morning Father Christmas (Todd's cousin Jonathon in costume made by Aunt Carole) passed out presents with some little helpers. We tried to down play material gifts this year and gave more "gifts of self".The Gifts of Self varied--Suzanne's was cooking--she is amazing, Carole played a piano piece, Tim played his guitar and sang for us, Uncle David babysat T who had a fever the night of the Cousin's party, , J, G, &N with the help of Aunt Lora's soundtrack collection sang for us. Uncles John's gift of self was a tractor ride/farm tour. D had to get in on the tractor driving.
D loves hanging out with Tim. Poor thing is surrounded by girls so much of the time. He was asking of Tim would be at the farm weeks before we left.
Christmas day was the most beautiful, chilliest day we had at the Farm

This is a view of the farm house from the middle of the corn field across the street which belongs to Wissing-Norris Clearview Farms. Todd's Grandmother's family originally owned the farm and as you can see by the clear view it was aptly named.
A more up close view of the house from the road. Todd's grandmother spent all of her Christmases here, as did her sister, Todd's father and his siblings, Todd and his siblings and our children.
T loved all the laps that were available to her. She really enjoyed a chap stick routine with Uncle David.There has been a long tradition of performing the "Norris Family Christmas Pageant" every year for a long time. This is how it works: Someone (Carole) designates scenes of the Christmas story to teams of the people who are there. If there are special guests They also participate, one year my brother came and got to be a "wise guy". This year the special guest was an older man who lived in the nearby small town and is the town historian...he maybe more appropriately got cast as a wise man.

So each team is given a Bible verse and has to act it out, including costumes and whatever props can be found nearby. Often we have a theme for example one year it was "they just didn't get it." After each scene we sing a chorus (or more) of an appropriate Christmas Carole. The normally quiet and reserved Norrises can really hoop it up with this. Todd's Aunt Lora (a Norris by marriage) always gets up laughing hysterically.

I am going to let you guess the scenes being acted out, some are more obvious than others.

Todd's Sister, Aunt Lora and G

This year I was not going to be typecast and chose to read for N, M, and T instead

Todd, Uncle David, and Tim Carole, Mr. Newkirk, and John

As you can see Grandmother Norris's collection of canes proves handy as do sheets, towels, garland, hats, place mats and of course stuffed animals. It is so much fun. We all moan and groan as Carole hands out the parts, but it is too fun to go without.
Also while we are at the farm house we usually get together with Todd's Grandfather's brother's family--Todd's dad's cousins and their children. While we only see this extended family once a year it is a treat for us all. My kid's first cousin, Grace and one of their third cousins Emma (whose mom's maiden name is the same as my married name)There are traditions with this gathering also. Generally there are organized games. It is held at a small town youth ministry center so many games are provided--D enjoyed wii race cars and chocolate,

N and Emma (they are within months of being the same age and N remembers playing with E when they were 3 or 4, they have always gotten along splendidly) and G, Holly and Big D guitar hero and J billiards. The biggest tradition is the ham. I don't remember what started the ham. Anyhow there is this plastic ham that gets passed via a game or lottery and the winner gets to keep it for the year, improve it somehow, then bring it the next year to hand it off. One year some one attached a light bulb to it and it can be plugged in and lit. We added one of Todd's dad's Pacer bandannas shortly after his death the year we had it. The passing of the ham from Jonathon to Bobbie

No comments: