Holiday Traditions

Ahhh, Christmas day with the folks. It's always fun, and I don't mean that in a facetious way. Besides increasing in material wealth (and really no matter how much of a grumpy pants you are, getting stuff is nice. Can we just be honest about that for once?), I enjoy seeing how our family traditions evolve over the years.

Mom and I had an intense gift-wrapping marathon on Christmas Eve Eve (not a typo), but we didn't quiiiiiite finish. We started around 3 or 4, but by midnight we were exhausted. We thought we might finish up on Christmas Eve, but that didn't work out, as we had grocery shopping and prescription filling to do, not to mention Mom's last minute gift shopping. She knew what she wanted, but just hadn't been able to get out and get it yet.

So Christmas morning I awoke bright and early and realized that I was not hungry at all. Usually, I make Christmas breakfast, but my appetite was shot and no one else was really up. R informed us that Mom had been up with the baby a lot of the night, so she planned to sleep until 11, then we could open gifts. Upon hearing that, I headed back to bed for a nap of my own. The unwrapped presents and all the wrapping paraphernalia had been set up in my room for the past few days, so Mom came in when she woke up. She was asking if I was okay, probably because I was still in bed! After I assured her that it was just a nap and explained how my pain killers had stopped being pain killers, she came back with a nice little Tylenol-Aleve cocktail for me... which also didn't really do much. lol

Anyway, I got up and wrapped a few more things while Mom was getting her coffee and all that, then took over the baby for K. Little Peanut fell asleep in my arms, so I pawned her off on Grampa R when we all gathered to open presents, because it's really difficult to open gifts with a sleeping infant in your arms! That, of course, meant he had to wait to open his until he could hand her off to Gramma Mom. It was like playing hot potato. :)

One tradition that has stuck around my whole life is that we take turns opening a present at a time, and the whole family watches that one person's reaction as they open their gift. It helps keep the focus off of the material goods and more on the experience of the gifting from a loved one, if that makes sense. It's not just about "getting stuff", it's about the thought and effort that was put into finding the thing that would make that person squeal/laugh/fall on the floor and twitch with joy. (That twitching thing has actually happened.) We typically go from youngest to oldest, and even little Peanut got some presents. Her mommy opened them for her, of course, since she was sleeping. Oh, and there's that whole fine motor control thing that she's lacking, too...

Something that I love about my family is that they come up with the most amazing gifts. Everything I got this year was unique but practical (and packable!), and generally either really awesome/sweet or totally hysterical. For instance, I now have an ice cube tray that makes koi-shaped ice cubes, a t-shirt from the REAL Mystic Pizza Parlor in CT, a rubber ducky armada (complete with soundtrack), a Wal-Mart gift card with strict instructions to use it to splurge on myself and not get all practical, a container of specialty tea and a gift card to a store that is devoted entirely to tea and tea accessories, and a Black Knight plush toy with detachable arms and legs.

After opening gifts, K and her boyfriend had to leave so that they could make it to his grandmother's house before all of his family took off. They took Peanut with them, and the house is so quiet and empty without her... I feel like an empty nester. Also, I don't know what to do with all my free time anymore. So, since I was still feeling run down, I went back to bed! Hehe. That's what I'll do with my free time-- I'll nap. :)

Mom jumped into the kitchen and whipped up a stellar Christmas dinner, which we all thoroughly enjoyed... even the pets. Mom totally spoils them and feeds them scraps from the table. J drifted off to her room after dinner, Jr went to his room because he's sick, and Mom, R, and I hung out in the living room and watched Dr. Who for a couple of hours. We interspersed episodes with conversation, and I worked on wedding stuff. (Okay, so maybe it was more than a couple of hours... we DID stay up until one, after all...) I finished off the night with a phone call to my beloved, and it was so good to hear his voice. I only have 10 more days until I'm back home, and while it seems like both a long and a short time, I know that it will absolutely fly by. Soon I'll be back in school again, back to the grind... sort of. I've got a lot of big life changes coming up, so things will be different in many ways.

I'm a bit disappointed that we'll be spending New Year's Eve at K and her boyfriend's apartment. It's not that I don't want to see their place (and her baby) and hang out with them, but he's invited his family... and I've not heard good things about them. Our family always hangs out together and eats popcorn, drinks Martinelli's, and plays games or watches a movie. I'm sad to miss out on that in lieu of spending a day (and possibly the next day?) with a bunch of people that aren't pleasant to be around. Oh well. I know that it is important to K that I see her home, so I will brave it for her sake. So I'll be sad to miss out on our traditions. Big deal. I'll survive.

Oh, and Peanut was in her little red and white "Baby's First Christmas" outfit with the sparkly red tutu. A-dorable. Ridiculously so. I have this hypothesis that the universe is powered solely on baby cuteness, and if that is so, then she is contributing more than her share.

It was a good day. I'm very grateful for my family... especially because of all the craziness and quirks. I don't think I'd fit in anywhere else :)

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