I was reading http://zeneedle.typepad.com blog and she was talking about Christmas Traditions, so thought I'd share my memories of Christmas on my blog too.
Up until we moved to the south we had Christmas with both sides of the family. On Christmas Eve we'd head to BTB's (my new name for hubby) Mom and Dad's house for the traditional feast, tree decorating, gifts and lots of talking around their big dining room table. There are 5 kids in the family so by the time you add on all the spouses and kids over the years, it was quite a croud. They were originally from PA. so it was a learning experience for me to see how different Christmas Dinner could be (I started going there when I was 13 years old). And, while growing up, the kids always thought that Santa brought their tree on Christmas Eve. Thus, the reason we decorated it on Christmas Eve - after dinner, after the dishes, and then the mad rush to decorate because no presents till the tree was done. The kids used to get a little carried away with the tinsel, being the last thing on the tree. Thinking back on it though, I think it was their Grandpa that taught them how to throw it all over the tree, to hurry it along. He loved the gift giving part as much as the smallest child.
On Christmas Day we'd go to my Mom and Dad's for more! We always had our tree up a week before Christmas, so that part was different, and Mom is such a kid at Christmas, we usually did gifts as soon as we walked in the door and got our coats off. Years later, when my Grandparents were getting older, somehow Mom waited till after dinner, but in the years that my kids were little, we didn't wait. We'd have the big feast with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash (winter), turnip (my favorite), Grandma's homemade yeast rolls, lots of pies, some fancy cranberry relish my Dad makes every year (I'll take the cranberry sauce), fudge, Mom's delicious butter brickle (which I am finally old enough to have the receipe for) and sugar cookies of every shape and description. After eating all that food and doing the dishes Mom always wanted to go for a walk, which now, at this age, seems like a wise idea, but back then? We were so tired from putting toys together until late Christmas Eve and all the rushing up until Christmas Eve, BTB and I usually crashed on her couch and had a nice, long nap while she, my Grandmother and the kids went for the walk. Don't think she liked it too much, but dang, we were full and really tired!
Now we're in the south and everything is totally different. I don't want to put a frown on the holiday, but it's just not the same. Our son lives 4 1/2 hours from us, my oldest daughter and 3 grand kids are an hour from us and my parents are 6 hours from us. We all try to get together for Christmas but this year it's not going to happen. Bob's mother is sick so we decided several months ago to go back home to Rhode Island and spend Christmas with her and all his family. His Dad passed away 1 1/2 years ago and this could possibly be the last year we can celebrate the holiday with her. I'm dreading the 20 hour ride, worrying about the snow storms that might pop up while we're driving and not spending the holiday with my kids, my grandkids, my Mom and Dad and not being home! I didn't bother decorating, didn't bother even putting up the tree and haven't bought gifts for everyone yet. My mother-in-law wants no gifts exchanged so we're going up there with an empty sleigh. Kind of a sad, meloncoly time of year. After spending almost 2 weeks up there we'll head to the mountains and have New Years Eve with my parents, my Baby Girl (who will be with us anyway), our oldest daughter and her 3 little ones. We'll have Christmas with the kids sometime after we get home. Two weeks away from home on Christmas is really weird and we've only done it once before in all of our 30 years of marriage and that year we went to Disney for Christmas and never had Christmas in RI again as we ended up moving south the following August.
So, if you're all celebrating Christmas, I hope it's very Merry. And I hope you all have a much better attitude about it than I do this year.
Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, safe New Year.