Friday, December 2, 2011

Least-Favorite Christmas Tradition

Crying is my least-favorite Christmas tradition.

Christmas for me has changed drastically over the years.  I mean, there was the whole childhood-wonder-presents-are-where-it's-at phase, but even after that, it has just kept changing.  

When I started dating Handsome, we were very much involved with each others families.  As a result, for EIGHT years, we ran around on Christmas Eve like crazy people, driving through snow and ice to make it to no fewer than... lemme count... sometimes, wait, 6 events on Christmas night.  There's the pagent, then church with my family, then back out to Seminole for the Mag. party, then into Frogtown (yes, the true name of a place I grew up) for the All. party, then back out to Newbie for mass, and then finally to open our presents together (always after midnight, so it was technically Christmas).  We didn't generally partake in the Christmas morning festivities with each other's families while we were dating, so the day of would be somewhat quieter.

This isn't my picture, but I have one.
Only it's better, because it's John Deere, and not Farmall.
Sorry, it's just how I was raised.

Enter 2 rings and some vows, and then Christmas day was just as crazy as it's Eve.  It was morning at my in-laws, followed by brunch at my parents, then to H's mom's mom's for lunch and presents, then jet off for a 45-min ride to my mom's mom's, then back to town for a little bit of H's dad's mom's again.

Really, it's raising my heart rate just to think about it.  

Every year, do you know what for-sure would happen on Christmas Eve?  Other than Santa coming?  I'd cry.  Every year.  It was just too stressful.  There was no way to meet everyone's expectations, and in the rush, we did not enjoy ourselves.  It was hurry hurry, arrive, enjoy, hurry and leave, hurry hurry, arrive, enjoy, hurry and leave *we're late!* hurry hurry, arrive, hurry leave (whoops! forgot to enjoy!) hurry hurry... the whole time.  

Again, not my own picture.
I actually have two, but I can't find them.
I'll try to take another one while home this year.
Start holding your breath.

Last year, we stayed in SC for Christmas.  Christmas Eve consisted of Christmas Eve service at church, and then watching Babes in Toyland (H claims it was an integral part of his childhood...).  That's it.  And it was pretty empty feeling.  Christmas morning, we woke up, made breakfast, broke a 1 L container of Light Corn Syrup on the floor and cabinets.  Handsome tried to clean it up, then yelled "How do you do this!?! It's clear!?!  I think it's gone, and then it's back!?!".  Then we ate breakfast and opened presents, Duke got a stocking, and then H went into work.  Again, it was empty, too quiet, too slow and ... peaceful?  I guess that's what peaceful feels like. 

You might think I didn't cry that year, but you'd be wrong.  I did well, until my family called and told me I'd left my camera there the week before, so they were taking pictures of everything with it so I could "relive" Christmas as though I was there.  That was the best present that year.

Friends of ours claim that "being in your own home on Christmas morning is the best."  But I don't feel that.  It was nice to do our own thing, but only for about 45 minutes.  I have numerous nieces and nephews who I didn't get to see open their presents - that was too heavy a price to pay.  I have grandparents who I didn't get to visit, and cousins I didn't get to hug.  Perhaps if our house was only 25 minutes away, it's be awesome.  But 12 hours is just too far.

So I'm not sure what this year will hold.  We'll be up in PA.  I don't want to cry, but at the same time, our visit home is so brief we don't want to miss out on anything.  Perhaps I can just drop the guilt (that I self-induce anyhow) for the night, and still do the running about?  Perhaps a blizzard will hit and make our decisions for us.  The future, it's so... uncertain :)  

What do you do?  Do you stay home, or do you run like crazy?

When I asked H if he wanted to start some traditions that we would have for our own, he asked, "Do you mean like, punch a kid in the face every Christmas?  That's sick."  So we're still without our own special things.

Missing Lit-up Tractors,


  1. In the past we have stayed home Christmas morning, then headed to my parent's house (along w/ my siblings & their families) for lunch, to open presents, and spend the rest of the day.

    DH's family usually celebrates on the 23rd, with dinner, presents, etc.

    I like it because we have a quiet Christmas morning just us, to spend with each other & make our own memories together, but we still visit around and see everyone else. To us, it feels like a good mix.

  2. We've always done my family Christmas dinner on Christmas eve day. Still do, although now not as many people come as they used to when Grannie was alive and we had it at her house.

    Other than that, it seems like our Christmas traditions are always evolving.

    My Dad's Mom used to have a Christmas party the weekend before Christmas. Then her siblings started dying off, and she quit having the parties. She'd come to go to my Mom's Mom's dinner instead. But I sure do miss her parties. They were pretty lively.

    We used to have Christmas dinner with J's family on Christmas day, but that stopped when his brother got married.

    In the past few years, if J had to work me and the boys would stay home and hang out, or if he had Christmas day off, he'd put out the offer to trade with someone at work that had little kids so they could be at home on Christmas with their little ones. Then we'd leave the day after Christmas to go to my parents and/or sister's in Florida.
    Oddly enough, last year no one took him up on the offer, and we ended up leaving Christmas day instead. And learned how WAY much better traffic was. We got there in half the time it takes us the day after. So I told him this year, do.not. offer to trade! If someone asks, okay, but don't mention it if someone else don't.

    Don't worry. You'll find your own thing one of these days. And then it'll change again.

  3. funny ... i would have thought punching a kid in the face very christmas would be a tradition handsome could get behind, what with the sociopathic tendencies and all... ;)

    also, i agree. waking up in your own house is fun when you already live in the area, but when you live far away: forget it. you do sort of have a tradition already that you can continue to do while you live far away: you've put up your tree on the day after thanksgiving the past couple of years. we do that too, and it's my favorite tradition. i still vote for getting up before the others and opening your presents from each other all by yourselves together in your room, wherever you are staying, before you go out into the rest of the house and the world. i'm glad you'll be here for actual christmas this year. it wasn't the same without you last year.

  4. The kids first Christmas in the new house they were 1 and 3. I had made everyone very aware that after we moved Christmas would always be at our house. Once the kids opened their presents I wanted them to be able to hang out in their jammies and play with them. I got some guff from my Mom but it became the rule for at least 5 years. We saw everyone, they just came up here. Either for brunch or dinner. So we still saw everyone, BUT we haven't done the huge extended Christmas' in like 20 years that you are talking about.


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