Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Make sure you stop over to see Sam over at The Ruby Turtle Hippie Times for the next two weeks for a special Christmas series of guest bloggers. I am her first guest blogger to kick off the series, how exciting! Thanks for the chance to guest post Sam!!

I am so ADD, so this post may veer into several different "stories." Try to work with me here. My normal blog readers are used to my ramblings. :D

Family traditions can be so boring when you are growing up.

But, when you get older, and move away, and get married, you crave those old, familiar traditions. Or at least I do.

And y'all, it's hard doing something different after you've done the same thing for 25 years. My husband and I have a good mix of Christmas "compromise." It just so happens that his family does the big stuff on Christmas Eve, and my family does the big stuff on Christmas day. So, it works out for us to go see both families (they live about 1 and 1/2 hours apart) during Christmas vacation.

Anyway, I have the fondest memories of my family Christmases from growing up. We had some serious traditions in place. It's sad to me how everything eventually changes and you have to come up with your own traditions.

One tradition we had on Christmas Eve was we always went to mass. After mass, we begged and got to open one Christmas present. Then we ate some form of soup (mostly vegetable soup) for dinner. Always the same format there-very reassuring.

Side note: Who always picked a huge box to open early and it was always clothes. Ugh. I always got a damn turtleneck from my aunt and I always chose the same type of box to open early!!

Second side note: My dad belongs to the church of Christmas and Easter, and when he would go to mass with us, it was a holy hot mess of misbehavior. My mom was packin' heat (a wooden spoon in her purse) to poke/beat us with in the pew. We always left church grounded.

Anyways, after our night of church, gift opening, and soup eating, sissy and I would go to bed. We always slept together on Christmas Eve. I guess my parents and grandparents would continue their self induced eggnog (mostly bourbon) coma and put together bikes for their small children. No, dad, you shouldn't have screws left after assembling a bike. :)

At some point, we would always wake up and either A)hear them still up and dang it, we couldn't go down and check out the Santa stuff or B)hear nothing and sneak downstairs to attempt to look at the loot.

Only once in about 13 years did I get busted for spying. I was about halfway down the stairs when my mom caught me while I faked stomach pains/cramps to get her to believe I was going to get some water or Advil or whatever. She didn't buy it.

Until about the ninth grade, we would wake up no later than 6 am, and go wake the parentals. The rule was no one could go down until we were all ready to go down together. Once the parentals brushed their teeth, we could go!! We were rolling our eyes, who brushes their teeth to go open presents, please!!

On Christmas Day, the tradition was to look over all the Santa loot that was laying out (in separate chairs), oh and ahhhh, then go eat homemade ham biscuits and drink OJ. Finally about 2 hours later, we would convene to the living room to open all the gifts under the tree. Someone (mainly dad) would be "Santa" and pass out gifts to everyone. We would take turns, going around and opening and admiring/dying laughing at what the other person got. Sarah and I would trade flavors of Bath and Body lotions, chapsticks, and colors of socks/scarves. This would last a good hour-hour and a half. By this time, it was close to lunch, so we may have to invigorate ourselves with some snack items. Then, sissy and I would go play with our items, or take them to our rooms and organize our loot. That was the best part!

Christmas dinner (served around 2-3 pm) is always at our house. Everyone in our family comes to our house! Sooo fun! All the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc came over and the grandparents were already here. We would stress my mom to her absolute limit. She was ready to be hammered by 1 pm with all of the relatives in her kitchen, trying to "help." I'm sure my sister and I chorusing, "We're hungry mom, when are we eating?" really helped her out too. :)

We would finally eat a delicious meal with always the same type of food: turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, crescent rolls, pickles/olives, some form of Jello salad with nuts in it (blech), and tons of celery with cream cheese goodness inside. Then, a veritable smorgasbord of dessert items brought to the family by relatives or my dad's business clients. Stuffing faces ensued, then the kids went to play our new Nintendos (circa 1987), assorted boardgames like Operation, and later, Super NES.

Around 10pm, total exhaustion hit everyone full force, and we started winding it up. Bed for the young uns, and "Rummi-Kub" for everyone on my mom's side of the family!

So, now that we are both "all grown up" with babes of our own, traditions are a bit different. Obvi, we go to see our other families and have to compromise our time. Sissy and her hubby do the same Christmas Eve thing with his family, so it works out that we are both there on Christmas Day to party and play like the old days.

Eventually, J and I will have to start our own traditions. I don't' want to drag Emma/future children and all of their Santa loot and gifts to Birmingham to have Christmas. We will have to start our own Christmas traditions, just like my parents did. This make me sad-as I said before, I don't like change. :) But, we will embrace it and have fun making memories with our children.

What are your Christmas traditions? Please share! I love hearing if other people's traditions are similar to mine or totally different!!

Thanks for allowing me to go down memory lane, Sam!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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