Typically, I'd have the entire day planned out, and would fuss and grump and make myself and everyone around me crazy if (when!) things didn't go my way. This year I wanted more than anything to break that pattern and give up the control for once--to just relax, and enjoy the true gifts of what our day offered: time with our kids, gathered around the Christmas tree, opening presents in our pj's, breakfast and coffee available on a self-serve basis so no one person had to wait hand and foot on everyone else. The turkey, stuffing, and coleslaw had all been made the day before and was easily portioned out and popped in the microwave to reheat and eat whenever anyone felt hungry.
I know, I know--it's not the Norman Rockwell version, with the entire extended family gathered round two end-to-end dining tables, laid with the finest china and linens, sparkling centerpieces and gleaming crystal goblets, polished silver, and all the tempting trimmings of a traditional holiday feast--but it's that picture perfect idealistic configuration that drives me right over the edge of my sanity every year. I'm simply not cut out to do things that way. I wish I would've learned that lesson a lot sooner in my life...
Presents were opened a little past four. Michael woke up at midnight, then quarter to two, two-thirty, and finally at four, after I tried to silently tiptoe to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. He was right on my heels, wanting to know if he could wake everyone else up and open presents. Fortunately we all know he's a super crazy early bird on Christmas morning, and coffee cups filled, the family trudged to the basement to let the unwrapping begin.
Breakfast followed next: Bill had brought home two tea breads from work earlier in the week and so we served those rather than fuss with an overnight breakfast casserole or coffeecake. Another pot of coffee went on and we all squeezed around the breakfast nook to eat. I guess that was really our holiday meal, if I think about it. Bill, Ash, and Kyle all went back to sleep after that. Michael played with his new PSP game, and I puttered about, washing the few dishes and mugs, tossing laundry in the washer, and catching glimpses here and there of the twenty-four hour Christmas Story marathon on TBS as I gathered gifts to be put away and decluttered the leftover holiday mess. Another OCD issue: I can't leave gifts piled under the tree for a week...everything gets put away Christmas Day...I just can't help myself there!
Ashlee and Kyle had to head to her uncle's for the afternoon to visit with her mom's side of the family before returning to the airport and flying back to Massachusetts that evening. Bill busied himself with a few household repair jobs as we prepare the house for the market, and we never really got back together around the table for another meal. Michael and I were both a little green around the gills with whatever bug he brought home from school on Friday and appetites were at an all time low anyway.
So, it was a rather simple, casual Christmas, and I kinda like how it all went. Next year I'll pass on the flu bugs if possible--that we could all do without. Of course, hopefully next year will find us up north in our new home, in the midst of a full Maurice family Christmas, which is an entirely different experience--it's very loud: bunch of Italians all trying to talk over one another, joking, teasing, and laughing...I don't stand a chance of being heard, so I just sit back and quietly, happily, take it all in...
I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas, filled with family and fun, making memories for years to come!
Tucker's first Christmas-he never bothered so much as a single ornament or gift! Good boy!!
This video is great--what a brilliant way to bring Jesus in the midst of commercialistic chaos shopping...Loved it (I cried, of course...)