Monday, December 22, 2008

DPP 22:Christmas Traditions!

So with the holidays approaching and everything going crazy, I am trying to focus on the fact that come Wednesday, I will have two days where I should try not to focus on anything that will stress me out (namely our trip in 7 days). Seeing different people over the past week, I have asked about their holidays and such, I love listening to what other people do as their traditions, how they differ from ours, and what things I want to try!

For my family, the holidays pretty much start the day after Thanksgiving when all of the Christmas decorations come out and are strewn about, every room must have something Christmassy! And if it all works out properly, Christmas looks like it has thrown up in your living room. My family always has a few trees. All fake. One year we tried a real one, but really, just not worth the hassle. At our house this year, Tim and I scrapped our little baby tree that was in Boston, and now have a full 7 footer in the living room. I love it. As do the cats. Every day a new ornament is laying on the floor, resting after its
tumultuous downfall.

Shopping is pretty much the same as everyone else. Giving out lists to family members and trying to find just the right gift for the person who has everything. Except, it seems that my family is the family that has everything, so its hard to shop for EVERYONE. The Nordyke quirk lies in my father. His version of Christmas shopping is gather up the whole family, take them to Best Buy, tell them to go wild, and then he buys it all, wraps it up, and then Christmas morning you have to act surprised. He figures then you get what you know you want, and he gets to play at Best Buy. It works for Christopher, Tim, and I. My mom hates the idea that we know what we are getting, but to no avail, thats what happens every year. Although one year, we went to the grocery store right after our Best Buy trip, and I got some mac and cheese to take back to college with me, and Christmas morning, I ended up unwrapping the mac and cheese. My dad thought it was hilarious.

Mom always throws a big Christmas party. Foods of the gods. She did not this year. I boycott her.

Christmas Eve Day begins the true festivities. Morning is spent getting pretty, gathering the gifts for my uncle and grandparents, and finishing up the food. Then its off to a mid afternoon Christmas Eve Service. This used to be one of my favorite parts of the holidays since I was little. Getting to hold a lit
candle and sing Christmas Carols. And while not doing that, listening to the Christmas story and picking wax off my candle from its previous use. Alas, a change of churches and buildings has crushed my love of the service. No candles. No true carols, only songs that are sung poorly, and no Christmas story, only a sermon that lasts far too long and is loosely based around some form of the holiday. I boo it.

After the service, we load up the car and head to my grandparents house. It used to be only blocks away, then a few extra blocks, and now they reside in Waverly. Although this shall be our last Christmas there, for the are moving back to literally the house next door to where they used to live. I digress, once there, we unload the car, and break out the food. First course is always an appetizer-ish buffet. Cheeses, crackers, meatballs, little smokies, dips. You get the picture. And punch. Always punch. After we eat far too many snackies, we move to the sunroom for our stockings. Always practical, toothbrush, nail clippers, little cute kleenexs, that kind of stuff. Usually mints or gum as well. Chatting occurs, but usually us kids rush everyone on to dinner.

Christmas Eve dinner has never changed. I don't think it ever will. Christmas dishes. Oyster stew and one other soup for the "non bug eaters" as my dad calls them. Rolls, and red and green jello cubes in wine glasses. That is Christmas Eve dinner. The kids (not so kid like anymore) then go on to rummage under the tree until all gifts have been distributed to the rightful reciepent. And thus begins the around the room, one at a time, until everyone is done gift giving. Back when we were little, the kids opened up all their gifts first, so they could play with them all and be less annoying while the adults did theirs. And then after gifts, "Santa" would come and give out his gifts. It was always a friend of my grandparents giving the gifts my parents had put in the garage, and then "Santa" would leave, and the friend and his wife would magically stop over for a visit. After gifts, we still move back to the kitchen for my grandpa's homemade ice cream and a million cookies and baked goods that my grandma made. More talking, and then finally home for attempted sleep.

Christmas Day. As soon as we woke up, we would see our stockings hanging from our door. We were allowed to open them right away and see what was inside them to tide us over until everyone was awake (this began because we were up hours before everyone else). Once everyone was awake (9am became the wake up call for the later teenage years when my brother could have slept til noon), my brother and I, and my parents would all pick a spot in the living room and would distribute the gits. Still in pajamas, no big fuss. Around the room, one gift per turn, as my mom took pictures and kept checking on the cooking breakfast. This was always more fun than at my grandparent's because my parent's always got us the stuff we wanted, not necessarily the stuff we needed. After presents, a very well timed breakfast was had. Cinnamon rolls or monkey bread and Christmas Casserole. The best breakfast ever.

After breakfast we all did our own thing, opening up the packaging of the presents we wanted to look at first, taking pictures with all our gifts, and getting dressed for the afternoon meal back at my grandparents. Lots of food, lots of dessert, lots of talking. Since my dad is not the BIGGEST fan of the grandparent's we always try to leave somewhat early, but never early enough for him.

That is my Christmas. Every year. Like clockwork. I like it. It works for me, works for my family, and it gives me something to look forward to amidst the mass craziness of everything else in the world.

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