Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Traditions

As I am madly running around trying to get everything in my house beautiful so I can go be somewhere else, I have been thinking about Christmas traditions. Everyone has them. Some are Norman Rockwell, caroling and baking cookies, others are a little more...unique...(no finger-pointing or anything), but each one "makes" Christmas what it is.

Some of the traditions that I grew up with:

*Stockings were always filled with things that could be found at 6:30pm on Christmas Eve at the convenience store. I think I was in high school before I realized that it was weird to get a 2-liter bottle of soda in your stocking. And maybe some duck tape.

*We had a looooooong, drawn-out ritual before we got downstairs to open gifts. First, after much begging, we were allowed to go downstairs long enough to get our Christmas stockings and bring them back upstairs to open. I always opened mine in my parents' room, and my sister opened hers in the guest room with Mammy, who stayed overnight with us every Christmas Eve. After we had ooohed and aahed over the stockings, we started bugging them to go downstairs. At which point Dad would say we should get dressed. And he needed to shave. He ALWAYS shaved first, before we were allowed to go downstairs. And it takes FOREVER for my dad to shave. I think it was the one day a year when I didn't want to watch or help him pick out his aftershave. I just wanted him to get it the hell over with so I could get downstairs.

*We didn't open presents until everyone had coffee, and Dad always wanted to have breakfast first, but was firmly vetoed by everyone. Loudly.

*There was always a trash can put in the living room for used wrapping paper. A trash CAN. And I mean one of the big silver galvanized ones. Eventually we wore Dad down to just having a couple of strategically located 33-gallon heavy-duty garbage bags, but I think that was when I was in college.

* We open gifts one at a time. No mad mass-unwrappings for our house. And if Dad was "playing Santa" he would take about five minutes just to read a tag. It went something like: "TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO........................ marrrrrrkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiraaaaaaaaaaa...................... Frooooooooooooooooooom......... Saaaaaaaaaaaantaaaaaaaa." Only drawn out longer. And then I could get the present and open it. And show everyone. And then neatly take care of every scrap of wrapping paper. And then he would consider the tree for awhile, and finally pick up another gift. And eventually start reading the tag. Once both of their children started exhibiting signs of major psychoses, Mom took over playing Santa.

*Christmas Eve always means Dad's Punch. Which is made with Canada Dry gingerale, ZaRex, and rainbow sherbert. That stuff is yummy. And too much of it gives you a stomachache. Which I re-discover every year. Which reminds me that I need to call Mom and make sure we're having it. Mark in particular absolutely COUNTS on this tradition, and will be DEVASTATED if we don't have it. Dad now lets him help make it. [whew. Mom's way ahead of me. She's got the stuff.]

What are some of YOUR traditions?

OK. I am really, really, really putting off getting stuff done. At this rate I will not be ready to go when the kids come home. Somebody smack me away from this computer. mk


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! OMG, I have so many traditions that I am DYING to post but we have a bunch of people arriving in exactly *4* minutes so it will have to wait. I wanted to tell you that I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas- I count our new friendship as one of my most special Christmas blessings. RO

The Beast Mom said...

Hope you had a great Christmas, even if you had too much stomach-achey punch to drink!

I'm too tanked to write anything more about Christmas - I've reached the end of my emotional rope for this month and this week (and it's only Tues!)