Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas...please never change.

I consider us lucky. Some people have to drive long distances between home and family for the holidays or long distances from one side of the family to the other. Lucky for me, I don't have a long journey. Hubby and I can get from our house to either of our parent's houses in about 30 minutes. From there, we can get from one set of parents to the other in 10 minutes (5 if we are in trouble for being late).

I feel for my friends though. The ones that I have to schlep the kids, the new toys, the animals...all over the place to be with their family. It is difficult. And who wants that much stress on Christmas? I mean, I know that being with family is a good portion of what Christmas is all about, but it is just as much about having some quiet time and relaxation to enjoy everything that is going on. Sometimes that can be hard to do.

For some reason this year, I have been thinking a lot about what would happen if we were to lose either set of parents (mine or my husbands) any time soon. The holidays would not be the same. I always plan for going to my Mom and Dad's on Christmas Eve for their party. Then, we sleep there and wake up on Christmas morning, just like I have since I was a little kid (I really, really love my husband for never insisting on changing that). I was often one of the first ones awake. Of course my Dad always wakes up before I do and he and I sit down and talk while we wait for others to get up. That time with my Dad is always really nice. It's not often that he and I are able to really sit and talk without someone else in the room. We always start by opening stockings after everyone is awake and then gifts. Then, we have Christmas breakfast with my old neighbors (a tradition start forever ago, because they were just like family and we all LOVE being together on that day). After breakfast, this is usually when I am starting to feel like a child...not wanting to ever leave my parent's house and my husband starts with a nudge to get me going...and then it turns into a little yelling argument in the back room (he has to remind me again that I am an adult now and I can't stay here all day).

So, we slowly start to back the car and say 'goodbyes'. Usually, I have a little tear in my eye as we pull out of the driveway. I think back on Christmas' past and wish that I could go back in time. By the time we get to the end of my (parent's) road, my husband steps on the gas and I am thrust back into reality. He starts zooming down and road and reminding me that we were supposed to be at his parent's house a half hour ago! Inevitably, we get the phone call, these days it can go either way, it's either his Dad asking where we are and how long we will be (Scott always answers this one and says that we are much closer than we are) or we get a call from one of sisters asking if we are there yet (which I am okay answering, because if they are calling it means that they are late too, so I won't have to lie!). Within, five minutes (remember....5 minutes if we are always applies on Christmas Day) we arrive in his parents driveway and pray that there are not already two other cars their (so that we are not last). Usually, we get in one more fight over our lateness before we walk into the house and act like we are having the most perfect day!

After we say our hellos and our son runs off to play (he wasn't really running last year, so this is a little ad lib), Scott and I sit down and try to play it cool. Usually, if we are all there, this is when we turn off the TV, Bungie (Dad in-law) takes out his camera, and wrapping paper starts flying like we're digging for gold! I love this part! There are tons of gifts for everyone and since each of the past few years has added a new member to the family, there are more and more presents and ciaos each year! That's the point in the day when it almost feels like a scene from a Christmas movie. All of the kids are excited and we all thank each other. This is also a good time to share "news" year it was us sharing that we were engaged...if anyone were ever pregnant about this time they would probably share that at this point too. Oddly enough, 4 out of 6 grandchildren were all in a 30ish day bubble around Christmas. I think last year, this was the time that Scott's parents told us they were taking us to the beach for summer vacation.

After all of that, we usually just spend time together. We play with toys, sometimes take naps, or eat ourselves silly on snacks. Then, we sit down to a nice dinner prepared by Scott's Mom. She always takes out the fancy stuff for us. Fancy plates, fancy wine/water glasses, fancy tablecloth. We say a pray before we eat and the there's the inevitable argument about which way the food is going around the table and who has mess up the process by passing to the wrong way (usually Bungie did We dine on ham (this year turkey) and broccoli casserole (which is always gone before you know it), green bean casserole, and a pineapple casserole that has grown on my over the years.

Eventually, the night comes to an end. Jen and her crew usually have to first (although they have been known to stay the night). Then, Scott and I hang around with Erin (and usually Erik, but he's going to be staying in TX this year) and hope that everyone will stay the night like it was back when we first started dating. Everyone eventually leaves though....and Christmas is over.

I usually have a hard time getting to sleep on Christmas night. I keep praying that I will wake up in the morning and it will be Christmas again. Since I know that will never happen, I just pray that nothing will change for the next year.

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