Christmas was a whirlwind bash this year! With a list of people to see and things to do, we hopped on a flight a day early and the party immediately commenced. It was non-stop fun that went something like this.
On our first day in Canton, my parents acted as the greeting squad at CAK airport. It was so nice to see their smiling faces and extra hands to help with enough bags to clothe the whole family that we’d brought home. Running on adrenaline, the four of us had a cozy, festive dinner at Main Street Grill- the perfect post flight night.
On our second day in Canton, we attempted to pace ourselves and spent the morning going to yoga with MIL, and the afternoon hanging out and relaxing. What does this look like? The hubs drinking Christmas Ale and me wrapping 935 presents. To be fair, he did line the table with precut pieces of tape, twice. Later, Brad joined us for dinner at the Swanson’s and we chatted about his upcoming trip to San Francisco. Actually, he furiously took notes as the four of us rattled off all of our favorites and must do’s. Then, FIL set up a wine tasting to see if we could identify this super highly regarded case of wine we bought vs. an everyday, good bottle. FIL and I knocked it out of the park while the hubs and Brad failed miserably. Losers washed the glasses and were stuck with what they thought to be the better bottle.
On our third day in Canton, MOB and I dashed to the almighty NORDSTROM for some last minute Christmas gifts, and maybe a few for ourselves… For dinner, my sisters and their guys, along with my parents, met us at Dante’s in Akron. The three of us sisters were on our best behavior, as usual.
On our fourth day in Canton, I visited Katie and her 4th grade class. Together, we made sprinkles pancakes topped with whipped cream and danced around to Christmas jams, okay it was really Mariah’s All I Want For Christmas on repeat…
That evening, MIL, FIL, the hubs and I had a super dinner at Cowell & Hubbard before seeing A Christmas Story. The classic movie as a play was hilarious, the little boy who played Ralphie had me giggling every time he exclaimed that all he wanted for Christmas was, “a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”On our fifth day in Canton, I spent the morning learning to make Christmas rolls with MIL, Aunt Jane and families. My batch turned our perfectly! Unable to sit still that afternoon, FIL, the hubs and I went on a long winter walk, and then Kate picked me up for coffee and one last shopping trip before the big day.
I’d been looking forward to our dinner plans for months- it was finally time to see MY FRIENDS! Chelsea, Meredith and their guys met the hubs at me at 91. We exchanged those kind of hugs where you hold on extra long because you haven’t seen each other in WAY too long! Four hours later and after beers at Winking Lizard, we were still chatting away.
On our sixth day in Canton, the Gibbs crew headed to Crabtree for Kate’s bridal shower and a Pushic family mini-Christmas. Kate and I acted our age the whole way, pestering the boys by relentlessly asking how much longer. A delicious spread awaited us, along with challenging and highly competitive shower games. Post-party, Owen and I hung out and went for a walk in search of Santa with Kristen and Snickers. Then, we exchanged Christmas gifts, and between 20 people, 2 dogs and one charming baby, it was complete blissful madness!
On our seventh day in Canton, it was time to get serious. MOB and I did the final grocery shopping for the 13 dishes left to prepare for the Christmas Eve party, Christmas morning brunch, and Christmas day dinner. I dragged her out for a walk and a mini bar method workout sesh before we got to work in the kitchen. With things under control after dinner, we sat back to watch Christmas Vacation and Elf before dozing off. I snuck in a few snuggles with Drake too.
On our eighth day in Canton, I met one of my oldest friends, Amy, and her new baby, Olivia, for breakfast. Liv and I bonded while her mom and I caught up over omelets. It was so surreal to see my friend as a mom; in my mind she’ll always be 12 years old and trying to escape my attempts to put my mother’s make up on her. To be fair I did manage to get her eyelashes stuck together, so she had reason to fear me with a mascara wand. We never miss a beat and seeing her felt like old times.
When I got home, my sisters and mom were cooking up a frenzy and I joined in before heading out to Hoppin Frog, Akron’s local brewery. A slew of friends arrived and by closing time, we weren’t ready to say so long til next year. I uttered those infamous last words, “okay, just one more.” An hour later, I found myself onstage belting out “How Can We Be Lovers” with 2 of the 7 other Deniduettes. I’ll spare you the video.
On our ninth day in Canton, it was finally Christmas Eve. The morning flew by but I managed to wrap the last few gifts and go for a quick run around the lake, one of my favorite parts of being home. The Gibbs crew cleans up nicely for Christmas and posed for our yearly family photo outside. After our annual dinner at the club, the Swansons met us for church at St. Paul’s. I love this part of Christmas, where everything slows down for an hour and we all smile and giggle watching the cute little kids act out the gospel. Mayhem ensued just after communion as we raced home to prep the Swanson abode for their Christmas Eve party. Time always flies catching up with old friends, and I wish this night could happen in slo-mo. We also snuck in a couple of hours at my parents’ party, visiting with the extended Gibbs fam and neighborhood friends. Word got around the Santa was close so we finished cleaning up the last dishes before scurrying to bed.
On our tenth day in Canton, SANTA came! Seriously, if you don’t believe in Santa, come to the Gibbs house on Christmas morning. Everyone was apparently good this year, even the doggies! After brunch, we headed over to the Swanson’s for Santa’s encore.The hubs’ list was certainly checked twice this year, he got a dog and new set of golf clubs! MIL’s new wedding soup tradition hit the spot after working up an appetite unwrapping gifts. On our way back to the Gibbs’ house, we visited my Grams and chatted about her adventures in Europe years ago. We made it home just in time for the finishing touches on dinner and for me to finally change out of my Christmas PJs. For dinner, Mark’s and Russ’ parents joined us for a Christmas finale at the Gibbs’. While we had all had our fill of Christmas cookies, there’s never trouble making room for MOB’s twice baked potatoes.
On our eleventh day in Canton, the Gibbs girls headed to Nordstrom to exchange, return, shop and lunch. The best part was lounging in the bridal suite with hors d’oeuvres, and seeing Kate try on her beautiful wedding gown! The boys were anxiously awaiting our arrival home after a long day of hunting, scotch and cigars.
On our twelfth day in Canton, we packed up all 6 of our bags, just barely squeezing them into the car. It was unseasonably warm, so we dragged my parents and Drake out for one last walk. Before heading to the airport, MIL made a delicious crab and potato bisque, ensuring our tummies would stay happy until we landed back in London.Leaving is never easy, but I’m already counting down til my next trip home for Kate’s last fling before the ring!
*In case you didn’t catch on, MOB is my mom (mother-of-the-bride), MIL is my mom-in-law, FIL is my father-in-law