In some ways I wish that I could see everyone I need to see on Christmas day. Growing up, my sister and I went up north to my grandmother’s house.
Isn’t it an amazing house? Hard to believe it’s a grocery store parking lot now, but I’ll refrain from ranting since it doesn’t change anything.
My dad’s mom would come over on the 24th, have dinner, then attend church. After that, she’d come back and spend the night. That house was more than big enough for everyone and we would all go to sleep, waiting for morning.
My sister and I shared a room (and that went well, yep, not really) and we’d often wake up by 6 am. Then we would be amazed by how slowly time could crawl by. We weren’t allowed to get up until my grandmother got up, turned up the heat, lit the woodstove in the kitchen, and then turned on the Christmas music on the radio.
We’d all go downstairs and my whole family – me, my sister, my parents, my grandmothers – would open presents, hang around the house, and have Christmas dinner together. It simply never occurred to me that we were atypical and that most people didn’t have Christmas that way, that most people juggled family and spread Christmas out.
I’ll admit that it took me awhile (years) to get used to how different this all is now than the way it was for me growing up, but in a way I like our new way now. It means that Christmas lasts longer because we see my family on the 26th, and it’s good for the kids because they don’t get quite as overwhelmed by too many gifts all at once (and have fewer meltdowns).
This year was unfortunate because we weren’t able to go on our usual day, which had me bummed, but there was nothing we could do. The weather was terrible with freezing rain and ice pellets making it too dangerous to risk driving (hell, I didn’t even walk the dog past the end of our walk because it was a skating rink out there). We did get to go on the 27th though, which made me happy.
My parents spoiled us in a wonderful way. The kids got lots of great toys (fairy houses, horse & carriage, art stuff, a farm, a remote control car, and (my favorite) a finger puppet theater which is seriously awesome. I got a beautiful sweater, a much-needed set of pajamas, a salad spinner (don’t laugh, I’ve wanted one for ages, and if you’ve ever patted lettuce “dry” with paper towel you’ll understand why), and some other great stuff.
We also had our gifts from my sister and brother-in-law that they had mailed to my parents’ place and Amanda knows me so well. She got me a super-fancy high-tech corkscrew because she knows I enjoy red wine (I’d better see if I can use it!) and she got me Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography, which is the autobiography of Benazir Bhutto. I can’t wait to finish up my queue of books so I can get started on it; it’s been awhile since I read a book about the Middle East and anyone who knows me well knows that’s one of my favorite types of books to read. The fact that I admired Bhutto so much and found her fascinating makes it even better.
After opening gifts, we just relaxed and chatted while Hayley played with her new car and the kids followed the cat everywhere she went; I went to scoop up all the discarded wrapping paper at one point and ended up getting smacked good and hard by a little grey paw because it was apparently her hiding spot from the kids.
My mom had made spaghetti and it was amazing to watch how much of it Breanna shoveled into her mouth. It’s her favorite meal in the world and I fully admit that my mom’s spaghetti sauce is WAY better than mine (and mine is pretty darn good so that’s saying a lot). We had cupcakes for dessert and I got my dad set up on Facebook for the first time. After that it was time to go, but we had a really nice day while we were there.
And when we got home, Pearl was very happy to learn she had gotten some presents from my parents too – she loves her rawhide bones and soft plush bone!
I must say, it was a very good Christmas holiday indeed!