Is it really a tradition broken or am I just running out of steam? Every year I decorate the outside of my house. This year, NADA. When you’re in one of the medias the holiday season and advertising blitz is really a three month long barnstorming marathon of dances that leave you numb before your feet and heart give out and someone else waltzes off with good King Wenceslas’ crown and all the figgy pudding. Having said that I love the joy and warmth of Christmas.
My second husband only enjoyed Christmas with his mother, I did too, but I wanted to spend some of that time with my parents and siblings. My parents raised us very independent and when we left the nest we weren’t expected home for holidays. This wasn’t meant to be cold, “I’ve had you for eighteen years, be gone.” It was because early in their marriage they’d been pulled in all directions on the holidays. The joy of family and friends had become a taffy pull of nerves and not enough time.
Ducky had gone through much the same during his first marriage, ergo we made an agreement early on that we would travel to his family on Thanksgiving, and our door was open to anyone and all on Christmas at our house. We did travel for Christmas twice to his family when his parents were in exceptionally poor health. And we’ve done Christmas at my parent’s house once or twice when one of my brothers had been in town. But for the most part Christmas is here at home.
The weekend before Christmas all the girls and their families come home. We have a lovely family dinner – BBQ’d steaks, double stuffed potatoes, and pistachio salad. Then the kids and Ducky go to the casino for a bit while Burp and I stay home. This has a double benefit 1) Psam gets a night out (but she didn’t go this year) 2) Burp and I do stockings. Stockings are one tradition I cannot, will not; must not break. The stockings are hung in the sunroom by order running from Ducky to Burp across our French doors. Each person makes a contribution to the stocking. Burp always does mittens and gloves. This year it was a big trip to the store so he could pick out gloves for each of his aunts, uncles, and mom. I did solar stakes and oldie CDs for the girls, hand clamps for the guys along with an Oregon State dog leash for the Brit, Oregon lanyards for Ducky and Burp, drats I can’t remember what I got Bosox for his. Ducky did box knives for the guys, little hippie purses with Starbucks instant coffee for the girls. See it’s an eclectic mix. By the end of the evening the stockings are overflowing with Hershey Kisses, candy canes, Cadbury eggs, or even Roche Ferre.
Now the rule about stockings is this. Everyone adds their item(s) sometime during the afternoon or evening. After midnight you can get your stocking and take it back to bed with you to pillage at your leisure. But beware you could end up with Misery’s chocolate covered cherries stuck to your butt if you’re not careful – hey it’s happened.
We go out for breakfast on Sunday morning and comeback and open presents before all the girls and families have to leave. It is bliss.
This year we were lucky in that Psam and Burp got to stay through Christmas afternoon. In the past I have not only decorated both inside and out, but I have made Kahlua Kali, baked, made fudge, and been the closest thing to Super Mom possible. Every year one more item gets dropped off the list. This year when I usually have four cases of Kahlua made, I had only one started on. No baking, no candy. My job performance at work suffered, my family has suffered, and I finally had a nuclear meltdown on Wednesday afternoon when my programming did not go off with out a hitch. It had a big ass – 4 minutes of dead air – hitch that left me a heart thudding, body twitching, head pounding mass of quivering flesh. Tears ensued.
I came home to find that Psam, who had family demands of her own to fulfill, had baked me dozens of scones to take to work the next day. Nothing smells better than walking into a house all warm and homey with the smell of yummy baked goods. While my traditions were all broken, it was really nice when someone else stepped in and picked up part of my load. Thank you Psam.
Late Merry Christmas all,