I am the youngest of six children, and my mother came from a large family herself. I had 24 first cousins on my mother's side, and some of those older cousins were having babies of their own by the time I came along. My grandparents lived on a farm in an old log house about 40 minutes from our house. Christmas Day meant gathering at Ma and Pa's home with all the other families. I can't even recall how my parents were able to transport all of us six, toboggans plus food in the station wagon that was towing a trailer with the snowmobile!
Ma loved Christmas. Every little person would receive a pair of hand knit woolen mittens. They would have to be unique, red with a white stripe, green with a red stripe, etc, so that the kids wouldn't be arguing over whose was whose. I don't know what else the boys got, but I know that the girls always got a pair of new underwear that 'you'd grow into' (in other words, they reached up to your armpits!). More information than you need to know, right!?
During the day, the cousins would toboggan outside and take turns getting towed around the field behind the snowmobile. Sometimes we would go into the barn to find the kittens or watch my young uncle milk the cows. I remember one Christmas, I was about 6, getting very angry because Uncle Grant had turned the cow teat towards me and squirted fresh milk all over my new red woolen Christmas dress.
I have great colour photos of my cousin's shiny faces happily looking up as Ma placed the 3 tier decorated fruitcake onto the table. I have no idea how we all fit into that house at once. Happy memories.