I woke up at 6 am yesterday with a combination of the excitement and nervousness akin to that of Christmas Day as a child, and my wedding day last year (though to a lesser extent, of course). I was really looking forward to this, and, in the end, it was friggin fun.
A few things I learned:
First, when it's your kitchen, you're in charge. Sweeeeet. If you ever want to give your family orders, your kitchen on the day you're preparing a giant meal for them is the day to do it. They're really quite helpful and they generally have to listen to what you say.
Second, if you are willing to rely on people to do what they do better than you, you will get credit for it. Without my chef uncle to help me make Cornish game hens, who knows what we'd have eaten. And if I had not relied on my guest greeters, and game players, and pastry rollers, and gift distributers, and ribbon rollers, and drink pourers, and vegy choppers, and food platers, and desert servers, and dish washers, "my" dinner would have been - and my house would still be - a disaster. This is not a task you can accomplish all by yourself. But you do get to pretend that you did.
Third, no matter what all you scrooges say (haha), two trees are totally worth it. One tree for us to enjoy upstairs, and one tree for 20 people to open gifts under downstairs. And, maybe a third tree next year (just to piss off Hubby, who is really looking forward to dragging them out of the house this week).
And finally, I learned that it isn't really about all that shit anyway. When it's all said and done, Christmas is never about the hell we put ourselves through. It's about being charitable, and expressing love, and ultimately, getting presents - or wait no - maybe it's just the first two.