Every year we go to my SIL's home and have a BBQ on the 4th of July. The whole family goes, the kids play outside, the adults hang out and talk outside, there's good food, and fireworks afterwards. It's a really nice time for all of us.
This year my husband really wanted to see the parade that they do in his old hometown. The one that they do by our current home is sweet, but small and short. The one that they do in his old hometown is about 2 hours long, has many floats, candy, state officials, and for the parade that is held earlier in the afternoon they have 5 fighter jets that fly overhead to commence the festivities. It's so popular that people started putting their chairs out to save their spots on the main road about a month earlier. The whole thing is pretty awesome.
The kids are at an age that we could sit and enjoy a long parade. This year we really lucked out and had good weather, hot, but not humid. We also met up with one of Hubby's sisters and her family and we were able to enjoy the parade with four of our nieces. The kids had so much fun being with their cousins, listening to the marching bands, and waving to everyone. Good time had by all.
My favorite part of the day is going to Hubby's other sister's home for the festivities. I think it's one of the easier celebrations to host (I hope she thinks so!). While she still has to prepare her home for the onslaught of our clan (it's 29 of us for a "immediate" family gathering) we spend the majority of our time outside, the kids entertain one another, and there is none of that "schedule" that goes on when you host a birthday party. So we don't have to worry about gifts and cake. Everything is pot luck and buffet style.
Being from a small family of four, it's taken me some time to learn to get used to a large family. But over the years (I've been going to family gatherings for the last 13 years) I'm finally used to it. I love that my kids have a ready made play group whenever we go somewhere. All of the kids are good to each other and play with each other pretty nicely. We still have squabbles that happen with any family, but nothing long lasting and overall they do well. I like that I get along with my in-laws and all of my BILs and SILs.
Hubby and I spoke about holidays in general and we really like that we spend our holidays with our big clan. My only regret is that my parents are so overwhelmed with the sheer size of the gathering and do not join us for all of our festivities. But holidays were never a big deal when I was a kid so maybe it's not as bad for them as I think it is. Don't get me wrong, we always celebrated the holidays, but it's a lot different when you do it as a family of four versus a family of 29. I think my holidays would be complete if my folks were part of the festivities, but overall I enjoy them and I hope that my kids do, too :)