Merry Christmas!

Yesterday morning Shannon and I woke up in our own bed for the first time in a few weeks; it felt good!!  I woke up, and then slept some more.  This continued until the afternoon when we headed out to the Auble Family Christmas Party, Mom’s side of the family.

Grandma and the Cousins

Michelle, Mario, & Simona

Traditionally, this is a spagetti dinner, but this year we broke the tradition with a chili cook-off.  Aunt Judy, Aunt Sharon, Danielle, and Lynn each prepared their own blend of chili, or as I prefer it to be said chili con carne, the way I remember it from elementary school.  The intent was to vote on the best chili, but I have to abstain based on the fact that I am related to some of the cooks.  They were all excellent!

Master Chefs

Owen Full and Ready to Cast His Vote

After dinner, we had our traditional white elephant gift exchange.  Everyone brings a $20 gift.  The first person picks any gift from under the tree.  The next person can either steal an open gift, or pick another gift from under the tree.  This continues until everyone has a gift.  There is a recurring theme with the gifts each year; candy, beer, wine, movies, gift certificates, kitchen utensils, and pottery.  This year I was looking for some road snacks, Belgian beer was perfect.  I managed to gain control of the Belgian beer and thought I had it wrapped up; who would steel from a kid with cancer?  My family is ruthless, Mike had no quam.  Fortunately there was a second gift of Belgian beer which I stole from Ryan.  This created a chain reaction until Ryan and I had possession of the beer enough times that it could no longer be stolen.  No Belgian beer for Mike, but he did walk away with some very nice kitchen strainers, probably his second choice.

Mike - Another Gift for Lynn

After the white elephant exchange Michelle, Mario, & Simona, and Mike, Lynn, Carmen, and Matty surprised me with a very special gift, my first Harley Davidson shirt.  Love the shirt, thank you guys so much!

Harley Davidson Shirt


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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8 Responses to Merry Christmas!

  1. Danielle West-Chuhta says:

    wow I love the pictures….especially of the cousins and Gram! Merry Christmas everyone – 🙂

  2. Stacy Matz says:

    Welcome home Bret & Shannon !!! and Merry Christmas !!!
    God Bless ❤
    Eric & Stacy

  3. Mike says:

    Ok, so the time has come to defend my behavior. Quite obviously I was not going to drink Brett’s beer. But even more obvious, was that no one was going to give Brett a hard time–boo who, poor him. Well, that attitude wouldn’t give Brett the true EXPERIENCE of a white elephant gift exchange. I had my opportunity and I’m the only one obnoxious enough to do it. So, WITH THE FULL INTENTION of having Brett steal someone else’s beer and then me giving him his beer back at the end of the game, I preceeded as planned. It didn’t quite work out the way I planned–as Ryan and Brett are devoted brothers and outnumbered me (plus they are both smarter), but it did give the group a lasting memory and several laughs–which I’m sure I’ll put in a top 10 list years from now.
    So with my role on this blog set as the “website comedian” I will do my best to put up some good material in the coming weeks/months and years.
    Merry Christmas Hoefen family–we love you!

  4. Jill St. George Forsythe says:

    Welcome back to the great white north and Merry Christmas to you and all your family. My family also does the White elephant in lieu of buying gifts!! First rule is the grandchilgren must be 16 to particiapte with the adults. The younger ones have a seperate exchange not near as eventful but important training for adulthood. This is definitely the highlight of Christmas eve with the St. George Family (opps… second to the sinful amounts of food & libation) Ours generally turns into mass amounts of plotting & schemeing to assure we all get what we want. I was quite proud I secured a Britta water filter by aligning with my adopted brother Rick who wanted my golf accessories. I am glad to know other families consider plotting and stealing good family fun for the holidays.
    Keep posting I love it.

  5. Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    So good to see you guys!! We had so much fun! Glad you like the Harley Shirt Bret! We just knew it would be perfect for you. Miss you guys already! Merry Christmas!!

  6. Shannon Hoefen says:

    Merry Christmas Baby! I love you!

  7. Jeff says:

    It was so great to see you guys last night! And many congrats on winning the ‘Feats of Strength’, Bret! Mike didn’t stand a chance against you – my $ was on you from the start!

    I hope you guys had a great Christmas! Can’t wait to see you again soon! I’m looking forward to the next holiday (40’s day)! I’ve already started shopping!

  8. Makiko says:

    Glad that one Christmas mystery of why Mike would so vehemently pursue the beer, was explained! The mini-Hoefen boys loved seeing you and “Aunt Shanny” for Christmas!

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