1. You have enough food to fill the kitchen, living room and dining room

Everyone wants to make sure their favorite dish is a part of the meal, so you end up having more food than you could ever need. If you don’t coordinate with all the relatives, it’s easy to end up with 10 different dishes of potatoes or casseroles.

2. You have to create a gift giving system or set a budget so no one breaks the bank or out-gifts everyone else

My family uses a name drawing system. The cousins are in one exchange, while the parents and married cousins are in another. We set a price limit, draw a name, and give a gift to that one person.

3. Each holiday is an opportunity to meet a new family member

Whether it’s a tiny baby, cousin, aunt or uncle, it’s a guarantee that someone you’ve never met will show up.

4. The separation of the kid and adult table is nothing unfamiliar

There is no way your entire family can fit at one, or even two tables. Random tables and chairs are brought in, and somehow there is always a designation of particular tables for kids and others only for adults. You may even run into the problem of running out of tables and chairs, so people gather on the floor, couches or wherever else they find a seat.

5. You always have someone to talk to

Even with holiday celebrations spanning an entire day, you still can’t get around to talking to each family member. This is great because you won’t be in any conversation for long, and with so many people, there is a wide variety of things to talk about–there is always something to talk about.

6. The celebrations last all day, sometimes longer

For my family, holidays such as Thanksgiving, Easter and especially Christmas start early in the morning. Many times, I have woken up to a kitchen already full of family who arrived before sunrise to prepare. Not only do they start early, but they continue late into the night with lots of laughter and good company. Needless to say, a holiday that is supposed to be a one-day thing, often turns into a few days of celebration in a large family.

7. There are always surprises

Whether it’s a big announcement, an unexpected guest or a food fiasco, you have to expect the unexpected during the holidays.

8. It takes an hour to leave

Once you make the announcement that you are leaving, you don’t really leave for another hour because you have to say goodbye to every single person. It never fails — someone arrives right as you are walking out the door, keeping you there for another half hour.

9. There will be tears

The tears always come out on the holidays. Most of the time, they are happy tears from laughing about old memories or tears of joy from being reunited with your family. But yes, even during joyful celebrations the tears may be sad as you miss a family member who is no longer with you, or saying goodbyes to family who you won’t see again for a full year.

10. You feel SO much love

Holidays bring big families together and warm the hearts of each individual. There is hardly a time where I feel as loved as I do when I am with my big, crazy family.