Our family has many traditions, some of those involving family gatherings. We have certain holidays were we always gather at my Grandma's house. These include holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Throughout the year we have several other family gatherings. We always have a a huge family get-together around the 4th of July. We always have a Summer cookout at my Grandma's house. We always have a huge dinner on my Grandma's birthday in February. Those are our huge gatherings of family members. Smaller family gatherings happen several times a year too.
All of these gatherings go down in pretty much the same way. Everyone is responsible for bringing/preparing some of the food. Those that travel the furthest to get here usually end up in charge of drinks, bread, paper plates, etc. Those that live near my Grandma's house usually do the actually cooking. Days of planning go into the event and in making sure that everything anyone could want to eat is covered by someone.
On the day of planned gathering, those that live closest (namely our Mom and us) arrive very early at Grandma's house. You spend the first half of the day cooking and fixing food. We laugh, tell stories, catch up on all the family gossip, and have a great time. Then comes time to eat. Our Great Aunt Millie is always the first to sit down to eat and the last to get up. She is a petite, elderly, little white haired woman. She loves to talk and gossip more than anyone else so she spends the whole time at the table and eats with those that are early and remains at the table to eat with those that arrive late. After everyone has ate we all clean up. Then we enjoy a round of dessert.
Whether we are eating dinner at my Grandma's table or on the picnic tables outside we all end up with a belly full of great food, a day spent with loving family members, and with stories to tell at our next family gathering. What are your family gatherings like?