The entirety of the Neilson clan (all 13 of us) congregated in Red Deer this December to celebrate our first Christmas together in… years. (We calculated that it must have been 8 years ago that ‘everyone’ was last together, although many members have been added since.) Being spread out over the country (and previously across oceans), it was a special occasion to have everyone come together in one place.
Through the highs…
and the lows…
and those times we weren’t quite sure what to think…
we made some great memories together.
Nicole and Craig hosted everyone at their place on Christmas Day. With the wood fire ablaze, we hung out and shared stories of days long ago, and sat down together for a lovely Christmas feast complete with all the trimmings, including a turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, and of course, the (Neilson favourite) marshmallow-topped sweet potato mash.
Instead of exchanging gifts this year, we decided to opt for a “shared experience” of sorts. What activity says “memorable Canadian family experience” more than an ugly Christmas sweater bonspiel? (For those of you who are wondering what a ‘bonspiel’ is- it’s a curling tournament.)
The local curling club may not have known what hit them, but the Neilsons put on a strong display of spirit and skill, with no injuries and minimal tears.
The shot of the game went to Fay with her ‘hit and stick’ to put the ladies on the board.
Brendon’s eldest sister Karly took home the prize for best “ugly” sweater with her crocheted poncho, while Kendra (the youngest sister)’s vintage indigo sweatshirt was deemed the “hidden gem.”
I was personally quite a fan of our new bro-in-law Steven’s grandfatherly find.
Brendon and I won the “creativity” award for our DIY Christmas sweaters. On a side note, we are considering joining a curling league. Anyone else out there keen?
In the Christmas photobooth contest, the Neilson girls took home the win with this merry shot.
Runners up included Kendra & Steve with their nativity portrayal,
and Ken, Fay & Karly with this public display of affection.
All in all, we are very thankful that the Neilsons of the East could make the journey out West to make this one Christmas we will all surely remember for years to come.