On Christmas Eve our family has a familiar routine. We gather as a family to celebrate Jesus’s birth and to celebrate family. First we attend church, then eat, open presents and play games. Lots of stories are shared and there is always much laughter and fun. That’s the Raymo Christmas Eve.

We did have a change this year. We decided to gather at my son Brandons home in Montevideo instead of gathering at our home. Our family is growing and our house is getting too small to handle all of us comfortably. Brandon and Katie moved into a larger home this past summer so it worked out well. There is always that transition of passing on family traditions to the next generation. I remember going to my grandpa and grandma’s farm outside of New Richland, Minnesota as a child and then as I got older we no longer gathered there. When we got married and had young children, we were fortunate to have our parents living in the same town. It was a short commute of a couple of blocks to celebrate Christmas on both sides. We had our family Christmas at our house for many years and now its time for the next generation to host. It’s always sad when some family members can’t make it, but it’s understandable because of other family commitments and distance.

Christmas Eve afternoon, Roxie and I loaded up the presents and some food and drove to Montevideo to meet our family for Christmas Eve service at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. We laughed as we all met at the same time outside of the church to go in together. That wasn’t planned. We took up two pews and the church was full. Our Saviors was really looking nice with many red poinsettias up front. It’s nice to worship the Lord as a family. Pastor Don gave a great Christmas message and it was just the perfect Christmas Eve Service.

At Brandon and Katie’s home, Brandon prepared a large prime rib and two beer can chickens. We said the table prayer and enjoyed a really nice Christmas dinner. After dinner we all gathered in the living room and the grandkids took turns reading Christmas stories and Adelyn read the Christmas story from the Bible. That is a Raymo family tradition to read the story of Jesus’s birth before we open presents. It’s a special time for our family. I always think of hearing my Grandpa Raymo read the Christmas story when I was very young, that’s a great memory.

Then it was time to open presents and I think the adults were just as excited as the kids. I know Seth and Brianna’s dog Kona was really excited to open his many presents. Kona is a special part of our family. He loves the kids and enjoys playing with them. We laughed at watching him have so much fun. The kids opened their presents and then went off and played with their new games and toys. Of course we broke out the wine and snacks to end the evening. Roxie and I drove back to Madison and talked about how nice Christmas Eve had been and were looking forward to more family time on Christmas Day.

Gathering as a family is so important to our lives! Christmas gives us that chance and I love it.

Tony Ourada State Farm Ad

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