Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Well, I thought I would take this time to wish everyone who celebrates Christmas a very merry one (or "happy" if you're British). Then I got to thinking about it, and I began to wonder about Christmas traditions for different families. I think mine is the most normal thing in the world, but who knows? It might turn out we're very weird people...

I'll back up tradition until about two days or so before Christmas. We've finally finished the Christmas shopping, and we're finally ready to wrap. When I was younger, my mom would lock herself in "Santa's Helper's Workshop" and we weren't allowed to go to her bedroom while she wrapped. As my sister and I got older, the responsibilities changed a little bit. My sister watched TV, while I got to wrap the presents for all the family members that weren't my sister and I. This cut our time spent wrapping in half, so we got to bake for longer. We make Granddaddy's secret fudge recipe that we make for all our family members, as well as chocolate covered almonds, Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, or whatever we felt like making that year. Then, with the house smelling like a confectioner's paradise, we had to try and sleep through the excitement that Christmas was coming in just two days.

This is the version we read.
The next day, we take all of our lovely wrapped presents for the family, as well as an overnight bag that was hastily packed right before we had to leave, and headed over to my grandparents' house. When I was (much) younger, this trip took over two hours, but these days my home away from college is right next door, so we can leave our house pretty much whenever we want to. This is when the real Christmas excitement begins. We typically have dinner at the dining room table (a place reserved for holidays and special occasions), then we watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform their Christmas special on television. After we finish the special, my mom and grandmother start wondering if Santa's going to pass us by because such naughty girls are staying up so late (the older I get, the more I roll my eyes at this). We then make our grandmother read "The Night Before Christmas" from a book that apparently takes place in the year 1822 (talk about old). Then we have to sit through the Bible story of Mary and Joseph and no room at the inn, etc. (though not so much these past couple of years). Then we are finally allowed to hang up our stockings one at a time (my sister and I tend to bicker a lot), and then we're sent up to our room, only to discover...Somebody left us Christmas pajamas! (I literally have a set of PJs from every single Christmas...This year's is grey with deer and Santas on them). Then, my sister and I are tasked with the arduous task of actually trying to fall asleep. Let me tell you, I'm 21 years old and I have just as much trouble falling asleep this year as any other year.

Me in my Christmas pajamas with bows on my hat.
Merry Christmas!
After I finally fall asleep (it always seems like just 5 minutes after I fell asleep), my mom comes in and wakes up. I immediately check out the window to check to see if Santa brought me a white Christmas like I asked (still hasn't brought it yet, though there's some snowflakes mixed in the rain today), and after that initial disappointment, I walk with my mom and sister down the stairs, and my disappointment is immediately evaporated by the site of the Christmas tree surrounded with presents and amazing goodies. My sister and I start to take inventory before my mom admonishes us, and says that we have to eat breakfast before we can open any presents. We then make the Christmas oatmeal, which always seems to include an argument about whether there should be raisins or not in it (Granddaddy always puts up a good fight every year, but he always loses: raisins are gross), and we proceed to have the slowest. breakfast. EVER. After that, we have to clean up all the dishes, and then we're finally allowed to go into the living room to open presents. First, though, come the stockings. Then Granddaddy always passes the presents out, one at a time. We never move to the next present until the person opens theirs up and thanks the giver of the present. If any of my presents have a bow on them, then the bow is automatically relocated onto my head / hat. By the end, I generally have a head full of bows :D
Our stockings hung up by the chimney with care...

After we open all of our presents, we start the Christmas dinner. The turkey is stuffed and put in the oven, the potatoes are cut up, the celery is stuffed with cream cheese (this somehow is always my task, and I really don't like celery), etc. Then we wait for my aunt and her family to come over. We then have a second gift exchange, which is shortly followed by the dinner itself. By the end of the meal, everyone doesn't like each other anymore and my sister and I clean up after everyone. We then say our goodbyes, load up our cars, and finally give our grandparents some peace. Then my sister and I have to pack up to go spend the rest of our holiday with our dad.

This has been tradition for as long as I can remember. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I hope that someday I can bring my family along to share in this tradition. So tell me about your traditions! I'd love to hear about them! Also, enjoy your day with your family, or whomever you choose, and I hope you have a very merry Christmas. See you next time!!

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