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Grandma held court with a cigarette in one hand, a Labatt 50 in the other!

Matriarch of Lloyd family clan was the centre of Christmas celebrations for multiple generations of local family for many years
jodi lloyd family christmas
Jodi Lloyd, shown in the front row holding her son, has fond memories of massive family gatherings with, among others, Grandma Dodie. Contributed photo

The following story about the joys of large family Christmas gatherings was contributed by Jodi Lloyd, the long-time Simcoe County District School Board trustee for Orillia and area and two-term chair of the board.

I came from a very small family, whose Christmas celebration included my immediate family of three, and one set of grandparents.  

Meeting my husband, the youngest of 14 children, certainly added a new dimension to family and Christmas. Many of my husband’s siblings were older than my parents!

My three children were grandchildren 26, 27 and 28 for Grandma Dodie, the infamous matriarch of the Lloyd clan and getting a group that large together was no easy task.  

Planning a Christmas celebration of that magnitude required a very large house, and a lot of food.  

When our first son, Ben, was born, my husband Blake and I, decided it was a challenge we were up to and took on organizing the Lloyd family Christmas in 1992.

Nothing made Dodie happier than being around her grandchildren. She always knew what each was doing, where they were, and she loved nothing more than to hold “court” from her kitchen stool or chair, usually with a cigarette in one hand and bottle of Labatt 50 in the other. Who would deny her that…she raised 14 children!

So, in December 1992, when Ben was six months old, we hosted the big event with Gramma Dodie as the focal point. There were 18 grandchildren there as well as one great grandchild. The kids ranged in age from six months to 20 plus.  

It was a busy, fun-filled afternoon with lots of great food and holiday cheer and, as anyone who knows a Lloyd knows, there was a wee bit of talking, debating and possibly a bit of arguing! Dodie was in her glory surrounded by her not-so-small family! 

It is so hard to get a family that large together ... and as the grandkids got older, and spouses joined and then more great grandchildren were added, we hosted several more Christmas celebrations ... eventually outgrowing our house, and, finally, having to move the party to YMCA Geneva Park. They were always fun-filled afternoons.  

There was only one time we were able to get a family photo and that was at the very first Christmas party we hosted in 1992 and I always smile when I look at the photo, especially at Christmas, and think of how proud Dodie would be of all her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Dodie passed away on Feb. 25, 2007 in her 94th year!


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