This Christmas is going to be a little weird. First of all, my sister isn’t getting into town until Boxing Day. So Christmas Day itself will mostly be spent with my in-laws, with a brief foray over to my parents’ house, which is, no kidding, six blocks away from my in-laws’. (That’s really why we got married. Sure, there was love and commitment and all that other crap, but really, it was the convenience of holidays that sold us.) We got the easiest set up of all our siblings – my sister-in-law’s family lives in B.C. (although they rarely spend Christmas with her family), my other sister-in-law’s family lives about an hour outside Edmonton, and my sister’s boyfriend’s family live in Saskatchewan. Given that they live in Vancouver, they win the “least convenient holiday” prize. So this year they’re spending Christmas in Saskatchewan and then coming here afterwards.
So my family Christmas is on the 27th this year, which means we’re having full duplication. Last year, we spent most of Christmas with my family with a stop in at the in-laws, where we opened stockings and presents with all of them and then went back to my parents’ house while they had dinner and everything. This year, though, since neither of us will be at home, my parents are having roast beef on Christmas and we’re doing full blown Christmas all over again on the 27th. Stockings, tree, dinner, turkey, everything.
Fortunately, I really like turkey dinners and presents, so I’m not really complaining about twice the Christmas. This also means three stockings, which is quite excellent – Jamie and I do our own stockings at home (we decided last year that we should really try to establish a few traditions of our own rather than entirely mooching off our various parents), then we get a stocking at each set of parents’ house. Clearly Santa stays busy with us around.
Although we don’t do a lot, it is nice to have a few of our own things going for us at home. We live in a pretty small house, but we have room for a respectable tree (real, of course – fortunately Jamie and I have nearly identical opinions on pretty much all Christmas traditions, which makes spending Christmas with each other’s families much more manageable. Theoretically, anyway – ask me on Boxing Day), and over the weekend Jamie hung up our very tasteful lights, which feature lovely blue LEDs down our banister. We have a nice mantle, even though we don’t have a real fireplace (Jamie got a fake fireplace from his parents for Christmas last year, which sort of cracks me up), and we have enormous white stockings with gold music all over them. It’s all very tasteful. Jamie runs mini lights along the top of the mantle, and they reflect off the mirror and behind my little crystal Disneyland castle. (Shut up, I love it.)
We come home from church on Christmas Eve, at which point it is technically Christmas Day, and we open our presents, which dates back to before we got married. We wanted to have a moment to ourselves at some point on Christmas, and everyone was usually in bed post-church so Jamie would allow presents to be opened since it was technically Christmas by then. Last year, Jamie went to bed post-presents, so I filled his stocking, and then he filled mine in the morning. (He gets up before me. This is also how we did Easter this year – we each got our own hunt. His was ready when he got up, and mine was ready when I got up. It’s actually very convenient.) We got up in the morning and opened stockings, got dressed, and headed over to my parents’, where we had stockings with all six of us. (The stockings last year were a little out of control as all of us bought for each other’s stockings. This year we’re scaling down a little, I think.)
This year will be similar, except I suspect we will miss stockings over at my in-laws, because my niece and nephew will be there and I don’t think they’ll want to wait. But there will be stockings there for us, and then we’ll have breakfast with them (I have no idea what they have for breakfast on Christmas, actually – my family does cinnamon buns and fresh squeezed orange juice) and then presents, which will take a million years because there are 10 of us and they go crazy for presents in that family, and then we’ll go see my parents (no presents, though – saving those for the 27th), and then head back for dinner.
It’ll be strange, not being with my parents all day and not even seeing my sister. Not to mention the rather obvious lack of cat. Last year, I bought this stupid wind-up monkey for my dad’s stocking. It played the cymbals as it marched along, and Lucy LOVED it. She was blind and kind of decrepit, and we hadn’t seen her play with anything in months, probably even years, but she just latched onto this silly little monkey and batted it around for ages. We were all very aware that we were lucky she was alive after her near miss the previous Christmas, and watching her swat that monkey was probably the highlight of our Christmas. We won’t have to keep her away from the tree, or make sure she doesn’t try to eat the presents, or put her inside the boxes that the presents come in. I can’t put fifteen bows on her head and try to tie ribbon to her tail. It’ll be strange and sad and lonely, but we’ll survive.
At least my in-laws have a cat. Maybe she’ll sit still for the ribbon tying.