Christmas traditions

For Blogmas day two I want to talk about some of my traditions.

I didn’t mention this yesterday, but I love Christmas. LOVE IT.

I’m not the “Let’s listen to Christmas music in August” type, but it’s something I look forward to all year long.

My family has a bunch of long-standing traditions. My mom always starts decorating the house the day after Thanksgiving, and in early December my sister and I, and now her kids, go over to help decorate the trees. Yes, plural. My mom has five or six now, I think. This year my stepdad and my nephew are even going to cut a live tree for the back deck.

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Christmas, part 1

My mom is an excellent decorator, and her house always looks like something out of Good Housekeeping. Tree day is tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it. I have some special surprises from our family trip to Disney World earlier this year, and I think everyone will be really excited. I also managed to find coordinating Christmas pajamas for my niece and nephew, despite the age difference, and I’m giving them to my sister for Christmas morning photos.

Another annual tradition involves my mom’s insane pursuit of the perfect gift. She starts shopping around Halloween, and I’ve taken approximately 1000 phones calls and texts from her about what to get my boyfriend and some other members of the family. She puts so much time and effort into finding these gifts, and even though she sometimes calls at inopportune times I love that she’s so generous and actually cares about the gifts she gives. I know from experience that not everyone cares about that kind of thing. I can’t even count the number of just terrible, lazy gifts I’ve received from previous partners and their families.

Anyway, a fairly new tradition, not with my family but with my circle of friends, is Leonidas. I could explain to you how this “holiday” came about, but it wouldn’t make any sense or ever be as amusing as it was to us, so I’ll skip the origin story. We’ve only done it once so far, but it involved a big, gorgeous dinner and games with the five of us and our significant others, hosted by Becky and her husband Greg. It was extremely fun.

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Yes, this is my niece in a Spartan helmet and beautiful Christmas dress.

The next day the five of us played hooky from work (not really; we took vacation time like responsible adults) and went out into the world and did ridiculous things. First came a Godzilla costume and pictures with Santa, then playing with all of the animals at the shelter, then chasing ghosts, then dinner, coloring and drinks. We even gave the pictures we colored to the bartender to hang up in the bar. I haven’t been back to see if he actually did it, but it was fun trying to talk him into it.

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My friends ❤

This is happening again, but the activities will be a surprise, just like last year.

I guess this brings us to actual Christmas.

My parents have a party on Christmas Eve every year and invite basically everyone they know. Before the party my sister and I go over and we all open gifts. This is a fairly recent development; basically since my sister had kids. It’s just too hard to drag them back to my parents’ at the hour they wake up losing their minds about Santa Claus. It’s absolute chaos, and I haven’t been able to take photos in years. My nephew is seven and is way too interested in handing out and opening gifts to sit still for a photo. My niece will be around 18 months old at Christmas, and I suspect she’ll be an even bigger handful than her brother this year.

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No Christmas would be complete without my mom’s “fireplace”. This is a huge joke in the family now. She’s been harassing my stepdad for 20+ years to install an actual fireplace and it hasn’t happened, so she’s had this digital fireplace in multiple formats over the years. Every year at least one person comments on how hot it is in the house and suggests we turn down the fireplace. I even had my nephew convinced for a while that when the fireplace was on the screen it makes the tv hot. Everyone played along. I think he’s figured out that I was lying.

Once the party starts it’s a blur of booze, food, stories and my stepdad’s laugh. I wish I could add an audio recording of it for you, because it’s basically the best thing ever. I know a lot of people who don’t enjoy the holidays because their families fight and talk about politics and the whole thing devolves into a screaming match, but that’s not a thing for us. We just stuff ourselves silly and enjoy being with the people we love. After everyone leaves my mom cleans, my stepdad and I drink, and then we go to bed. Because I sleep there every year, even now that I’m an adult. I attempted to come home last year since I live closer to my parents than I ever have, and my mom was having no part of it. She likes to act like it’s me who wants to sleep there, but I think she likes waking up with one of her kids in the house.

So, Christmas morning is chill. We have mimosas and cinnamon rolls and watch the parade.

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Breakfast of champions

In the early afternoon we head over to my stepdad’s best friend’s house and celebrate with our chosen family. His friends Dan and Lance and their wives have known my sister and I since my mom started dating my stepdad (27 years ago), and we’ve known all of their kids since birth. When asked about these people, I just call them my aunts, uncles and cousins, because in my head and heart that’s what they are. We eat, drink and have a grand time.

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Food as far as the eye can see.

This is the last of our set in stone traditions. I leave Christmas afternoon open for visits to various other family celebrations, and this year we’ll be spending it with Dan’s family. It’s our first Christmas together and I’m hoping we’ll start some of our own traditions.

So this post ended up being waaaay longer than I planned, but I love talking about Christmas. What are some of your traditions? What are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

 

2 Comments

  1. Leonidas! | Teresa's Big O(pinion)
    Permalink

    […] Our celebration last year was a little different; we had a big, beautiful dinner hosted by Becky that included our significant others, followed by an evening of cocktails and board games. The next day only included the five of us, the “Gangsters”, and we’d each chosen an activity for the group, but we didn’t share them until the morning of. This is where the photos of us with Santa came from in my Christmas traditions post. […]

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