The holiday house

When my parents tore down the old two-story farmhouse and built a new home on the farm in 1980, they did so with their current kid-count in mind. There were four bedrooms, a rec room in the basement, a large living room and a counter in the kitchen that had plenty of room for buffet-style serving on the holidays.

Now that it’s just Mom and Dad out there, the space is certainly more than adequate, but I think it will be put to the ultimate test on Saturday.

It’s going to be Christmas at the Buntjer house, and if everyone shows up as expected, there will be 26 people and one dog underfoot. It may just be the biggest gathering the house has ever seen — or at least a close second.

One could say our Thanksgiving gathering at the farm was a practice run. We were six people short of the whole family then, and another six stragglers showed up after the big turkey feast. Even then, our seating was inadequate and we ran out of turkey.

This time around, with a morning brunch and afternoon soups and snacks on the menu, it will more or less be a food free-for-all (graze-fest) after the breakfast bakes are devoured. It’s the perfect menu for the stragglers — those nieces and nephews of mine who would prefer to sleep until noon or later on the days they don’t work.

Mom is already worried about where she’s going to put everyone. We’re anticipating three one-year-olds with high chairs, a four-year-old in need of a booster seat and 22 chairs for the rest of us. The teens and pre-teens will be relegated to the basement (less folding chairs to carry upstairs), and my brothers will probably end up in the living room, eating their food in front of some sports-related TV program.

Throw in the Christmas tree and piles of presents and, well, everyone’s goal will become trying not to slip on wrapping paper or trip over one of the little tikes. (That may sound funny, but poor little Brody and Kiera were each knocked on their diaper-padded backside at least once on Thanksgiving because someone didn’t notice the knee-high munchkins now that they can walk everywhere.)

If we could have a repeat of Sunday’s weather this Saturday, we may not have to worry about tripping over each other indoors. Like Thanksgiving day, we may see a repeat of a football game in the front yard, and 4-wheeler rides out to the back pasture.

What a day it will be to have the whole family together — the kids fighting over Christmas presents, the Moms shooing the boys away from the sugar-laden cookies, the guys focused on the TV and the girls breaking out the board games. Oh, I can hardly wait!

Here’s wishing all of you a Merry Christmas!

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