Years ago Ray's side of our family decided instead of buying a gift for each one of us, we would pick a name from a bowl to buy for. We did this traditionally at Thanksgiving. Each of us would write 3 items on a small piece of paper, fold it and put into a bowl. Whoever we picked, we bought for. Sounds simple, right?
|Marlene sets up the feast|
One year the idea of a gag gift exchange entered our family. Gary had us all wrap something from around the house...white elephant type stuff...in newspaper. Then we picked a card from a deck, and Gary -- our family Game Show Host personality -- chose from the deck the identical cards to decide who would pick in what order. Thing was, he called out the cards a second...sometimes a third time in order to give us a chance to take away a gift from someone who had chosen before us. Then, when we'd exhausted the exchange, we opened in order.
The first year we did this, Joe Camel arrived. You recall the Camel cigarette character that ultimately lost his job because he was too successful at tempting teens to smoke? A rather scary Joe Camel leaning against a cactus was among the white elephants opened. I forget who got it, but Joe returned the following year...and has now become a tradition to participate in the exchange.
|Kristen gets Joe Camel|
|Gary passes Joe to Judy 2011|
|Buddy & Herman's stockings join ours|
|Christmas 1978...hey! where's Ray?|
|Brothers Koz: Ray, Ron & Gary|
|Mom K with her grandchildren|
|Jim and Ray take a breath between jokes|
|Andrea, now of age!|
Oh! Food! Yep, the food is traditional. Polish kielbasa with sauerkraut, sorrel leaf soup, pierogis and Judy's famous crab dip are among other favorites. We used to go through the wine pretty good, but (sigh!) age brings on medications which don't always mix with alcohol. Still... we toast to the holiday and the memory of those who have passed into God's hands.
|This image hasn't changed in years. Judy's crab dip a favorite!|
|Mother & Daughter love their wine!|
|For years Holly joined Buddy at Grammy's in Michigan|
|Traveling with 2 cats takes practic|
We usually drive the 14 hours straight through but last Christmas we stopped in Ohio to check out a mega-supermarket, so Herm got to experience his first hotel visit. Yeah, we smuggle our cats in. Over the years Buddy has stayed at so many hotels he's an old pro, but Herman we wondered about. No worries! He embraced the experience and got to sleep with us on the bed for the first time. Only Buddy sleeps with us at home, but Herman snuggled at my feet throughout the night.
|Herman checks out Ohio from room|
|Herm with Kristen|
|Herm with Vickie|
Traditions start with love.
Sending you warm and wonderpurr
Greetings from my home to yours.
Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!
|Ray and Kim|