– Story takes place December 8, 2013 at 14 weeks pregnant.
I have only missed Hagberg Christmas once. That was last year. And after missing last year I vowed to never miss another one, even if Josh couldn’t make the trip with me (he had to miss again this year). Yeah, that’s how awesome my family is!
We are a family steeped in beloved traditions and boisterous celebration. Between the singing, all the uncles sporting booming voices, the large collection of cousins, the Christmas meal, and the Christmas presents it surely is an event unlike any other! I have always loved getting together with this family.
We are loud. I remember forewarning Josh about the very loud, very big experience he was about to have as we walked into his first Hagberg Christmas. I told him they are overly loving and rapidly hearty question askers. He was not disappointed.
We love to sing. In fact, every year we sing carols together and are treated to a barber shop quartet performance of “Go Tell it on the Mountain” by the Hagberg brothers.
My dad is the handsome fella on the left. And can you tell which uncle is a professional musician? 😉
We are many. All of us 14 cousins (17 including Joshua and my cousin’s serious boyfriends) are around the same age, only a year or two apart between each of us with lots of overlap. Add on our parents and you get the picture!
We eat heartily! Every year we have a Christmas spread that could feed an army. Our army. The traditional meal center piece is Chicken Divan. Since we are of Swedish heritage sometimes we also serve dishes like Swedish meatballs or lefse. But, the one food item you can count on at a Hagberg Christmas extravaganza is Grandma’s famous rice pudding. Every year she folds a raisin into the mix and it is tradition that whoever receives the raisin in their scoop will have good luck for the year. At least we have the bragging rights to a lucky year anyway 😉
We love to give gifts. Over the years this tradition has morphed. In the younger years all the cousins drew names for a gift exchange while the adults participated in a White Elephant exchange. When a cousin reached the age of 18 we graduated into the White Elephant tradition until all the cousins were a part of the adult circle. A couple of years back we retired the White Elephant exchange completely and now we all give gifts to Grandma and Grandpa and they have a little something special they give out to all of us. Every year we all get a handcrafted Christmas ornament made by Grandma and then some sort of collection of very randomly appealing items. For example, a couple of years ago all the granddaughters received a care package from Japan (Grandma and Grandpa took a vacation there that year) including the world’s smallest tube of toothpaste (which if you take a look at my “Itty Bitty” Pinterest board you will rapidly understand why a gift like that was so appealing to me), terry cloth hotel shower slippers (I use these religiously in the summers, especially when we lived in a run-down, wood floor covered apartment that refused to get clean even with daily sweeping), and a little coin purse (mine was all the bright warm colors).
To keep up with our surprise baby announcement tactic I wrote Grandma and Grandpa a Christmas card with a Christmas poem announcing the summer arrival of their first great-grandchild. And now, I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking 🙂 I have posted the words to the Christmas poem grandma is reading below the video.
A Christmas Poem
by Kaia Calhoun
We bring you warm wishes this bright Christmas season,
Bringing cheer like caroling and bear hugs for no reason.
Our hearts are always holding you close,
And are excited to give you a great-grandchild who will love you the most!