Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On the Eve of Christmas

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was huge. Bigger, in fact, than Christmas Day itself when in terms of activity. Maybe it's just a Louisiana thing but we always opened presents on Christmas Eve so the tree would be bare and ready for Santa to deposit gifts.

And then we always headed to the home of my grandparents' best friends (family, really) for seafood gumbo, more presents (before our families got HUGE), a bonfire (tradition there) and fireworks (to light Santa's way, of course).

In fact, there are many who build huge - and intricate - bonfires on the levee along the Mississippi River to light the jolly man's way. It's a big deal, y'all.

And so, though it had been much too long since I'd been in Cajun Country for Christmas, what I was looking forward to with much anticipation was Christmas Eve. And it did NOT disappoint.

We spent the morning preparing for Christmas dinner the next day but opened presents as a family in the early afternoon. I was soooo stoked to surprise my girl with a few things she had been wanting (but that her mean mom refused to buy for months) and I think she was genuinely shocked with a few.

 Then we all got dressed (doesn't T look gorgeous below?)  and headed to the McDonald home. Now things (and life) have changed a bit so the location is different but the people are the same. There are just more of us. And it was sooo good to reconnect with the people I grew up with, y'all. Did my heart more good than I can really explain in words.

And though I fell down (miserably) on the picture taking front at this particular time, this guy was the centerpiece. Adorable, isn't he? I kind of want one now for our gameroom so I can dress him 

After amazing food and fellowship, it was time to leave. But my cousin (more on him later) had told me about this awesome place - Messenger's Christmas Land - that we really wanted to check out. This place is fantastic, y'all. It's a home they transform with hand made displays (and a whole bunch of them) that each feature a nativity scene.

It's phenomenal and free. And they allow all these strangers to walk about their yard. Isn't that awesome? Honestly, one of the things I love about Louisiana is that life is different. Towns are small and everyone pitches in to help others...and invite the whole world over for things like this like it's nothing.

Don't get me wrong - I love Texas - but home is different. In the best way possible.

And, with that, I'll leave you with a ton of pictures. ;-)