for christmas eve we went over to my cousin's house like we did last year, to celebrate the holiday with my family and participate in the annual secret santa gift exchange. it's always done potluck-style, and this year i got the bug up my butt to try something new (shocker, i know). instead of bringing something sweet, i wanted to try making one of those savory charcuterie chalets i'd seen all over instagram and social media last year.
it seemed like it would be pretty simple, especially if i made a cardboard base that was covered in foil.
and used mini mozzarella balls to make a snowman:
by the time i was attaching the roof and covering it with slices of salami and prosciutto, the rest of the family had come over to watch and offer lots of...commentary.
once i was done, it all stayed in place - for about ten minutes. and before our very eyes, it all started to fall apart, starting with one side of the roof caving in. UGH.
and just a few minutes later, it was all over.
luckily, i had enough goodies left to throw together a small charcuterie board. it was kind of sad looking, but it was better than notting. and i also had a good selection of cookies from the bean's baking spree to bring, so we weren't coming empty-handed. not to mention, i'd mixed up a little jug of sugar cookie cocktail, which i packed up with the appropriate garnishes. when we got to the house, i assembled a couple of cups and got started on drinking my troubles away.
christmas eve selfie time!
as always, there were fun games to play. all three of my kids got in on the saran wrap ball game, which was comical.
and then there was the one where the player gets blindfolded with a spatula in one hand, and you have 30 seconds to try and scoop up as much cash from the table as you can using the spatula. even more hilarity ensued.
there was, of course, the white elephant gift exchange as well as the secret santa one. and before everyone went their separate ways, i managed to snag a four generations photo.
and when we got home, after the bean put out cookies and milk for santa and went to bed, the rest of us pulled out all of the gifts from the gym and placed them under the tree. i snapped this last photo and then the rest of us went to bed, leaving the living room clear for santa's arrival.
the next morning, i gathered everyone around for our annual family christmas day photo before we dove into that pile of presents.
the dogs all got fun stuff to play with while we pulled out goodies from our stockings and yanked wrapping paper off of our gifts.
we finally got to give the bean a pair of custom nikes we'd originally ordered on etsy for their birthday. the seller was in florida, and you might remember a little something called hurricane ian that hit right around that time. when i checked in with her she said that she'd sustained some damage and so of course, i just told her to stay safe and let me know when she thought she'd be able to get the order done (or if she needed to cancel). anyway, the shoes arrived mid-november and so we just added them to the pile of gifts for christmas morning.
the hub is in a black chucks phase of life right now and his big wish list item was for 12 new pairs so that he can pull out a fresh pair every month or so. he's hard on his shoes and they're pretty busted and sad after a few weeks, so he was a happy camper when he started unwrapping boxes and found that his wish had been granted.
the bean's number one wish on their list was for "a big plate of salmon sushi for breakfast on christmas morning," and santa delivered:
later that evening, we gathered at the old man's sister's house to celebrate with his family. the bean was pretty excited to cuddle with their two new cats:
i got to bond with lucy, their sweet german shepherd.
and dinner was super delicious - a full prime rib feast, capped off with a nutella board with all kinds of fun stuff to dip in.
ah, christmas. always over far too soon. boo.