Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Firsts #16 : Simmons Family Christmas

Today, the Simmons family ( my husband's family, and hence my family too) is celebrating Christmas together for the 32nd year. As in all good loving families , there is most likely some disagreement about the actual number , but as far as some of us can remember, the family came together for Christmas for the first time in 1985 and that is, in another  home rather than in their childhood home in Bonnell's Bay.  This was some years after the tragic death of Rose Simmons , my mother-in-law who had previously always welcomed everyone "home" for Christmas and by 1985,  owing to various locational changes for work , most of the family were within reasonable travelling distance from one another. 
Simmons Family Christmas 2008 

And this is how the Simmons family Christmas works - one of the Simmons siblings organises the date and hosts the gathering in his or her home. 
Simmons family siblings 
Everyone in the family is allocated some food to contribute, and in a secret Santa draw, we are also allocated a family member as our gift recipient and depending on the number of children in the family at the time, each individual family also purchases a gift for one of the children - this means that everyone in the family receives a gift. While the presents are excitedly anticipated by the children, for the adults it is usually a day of indulgence - lots of great food! 
Simmons Family Christmas 2013 

Simmons Family Christmas 2016

Over the years, of course the family has grown ( in different ways ....  there are now children, their partners,  grandchildren and some of them have partners  and great-grandchildren . The Christmas gathering is a time when new relationships between generations are made. 
 There are at least half the number of the family who weren't even born in the 1980's and sadly, some of the family have passed away. Over the ensuing years, the Christmas gatherings have witnessed the growing up of many of the family members and the many changes of  places of residence. Christmas gatherings have been in Newcastle, Taree, Bonnell's Bay, Morisset Park, Pretty Beach, Sydney, Lake Macquarie, Tamworth, Cardiff South, Rutherford, Wallsend , Coffs Harbour, Ogunbil .... and more. 
Even after 32 years, the Simmons Family Christmas remains one of the most important days of the festive season and the whole year for us ...  Thanks to whoever thought of this way to celebrate as a family. Merry Christmas from the Simmons family! 
Just a note - the Simmons family in England also have a similar annual gathering on the last weekend in November.  

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