As the memories of my shitty travel experience fade they are replaced with the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations that include the requisite games of Tetris played with presents under the tree (while also shaking a bit for the fun of it), the juggling of various dishes from the ovens to the stove and back again, and the arranging of furniture to accommodate the family and friends that come over after the little church service has gotten out on Christmas Eve and we all are released into holiday freedom.
Surviving another service in the tiny Lutheran church my family has been going to for ages (how they manage to keep it going week after week I’ll never know) was made all the more interesting by my tippy, just-had-a-stroke grandmother holding her candle on one side and my arthritic ‘popped a muscle relaxer before church’ mama on the other side. I felt like the least qualified babysitter in the world… but hey, between the baby making faces in front of us and my grandmother signing the wrong lyrics to the hymns (‘stupid projector screen’- I heard her mutter under her breath. The Lutheran church might not be progressing in its theology but it’s got the tech thing down pat) got a few laughs and made it through another religious service that I had no place being at in the first place. No one lit themselves or anyone else on fire, either- we’ll chalk that one up as a win.
I’m taking my place as the token only child this Christmas as my sister buggered off to her husband’s family in southern California. The house is quiet, the dog sleeps like a cat while the cats sleeps like her usual self, and I’m left to enjoy my tea, new warm socks, and the slight cover of snow that has managed to stick around despite the sunlight (which I want to stay. Stay sun, stay!). There’s the John Wayne movie marathon on TV and I’m probably not going to make it out of my pjs today… What else is there to do on Christmas besides relax?
I’ve been informed that my family’s tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve is, in fact, odd. I never quite saw the appeal of waking up at dawn on Christmas day to wearily and blearily tear into some gifts, even as a kid. Growing up Christmas Eve was for snacks and presents and family, Christmas day was to play with aforementioned presents and visit other extended family, and the day after Christmas was when we all got back together for a big dinner and games and general tomfoolery.
It might not be the way others do it, but damn if we aren’t happily unconventional anyways.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Enjoy it!