Admittedly, I approached this past Christmas with a Scroogy attitude. The real gift was reconnecting with my family; so when the actual day arrived, it seemed less spectacular. One of my nephews was wrapped up in a blanket in the living room as if Santa had left him along with the other gifts.One of my nieces and I immediately changed into our Christmas festive attire. Whereas her Santa Dino sweater and Grinch leggings were manufactured, I’d sewn a stuffed animal, which I named “Bah Humbug,” onto the front of my sweater. Although I thought of it as a simple way to be Christmassy, I didn’t realize how having Bah Humbug sewn onto my sweater would amuse other people as much as it did. Everyone initially thought I was carrying a stuffed animal until I stood up.
Apparently my costuming idea was so impressive, my 17-year old nephew asked me to stand up and say a few words, so he could post it to his Instagram. Now, there’s a vote for being unintentionally cool!
Yet, he’d showed up all of us on Christmas Eve by dressing up in his Winter Wonderland suit for church. The pastor was so distracted that he asked my nephew to stand up for the congregation just in case they hadn’t seen him. The pastor complimented how confident my nephew was, supported the idea he’d be a millionaire by age 25 and then delivered the sermon.
As in the past few years, we started off Christmas morning eating breakfast. With the youngest child being 17, there was no over-the-top early morning anxiousness. Everyone had a chance to fully wake up, change out of their bed clothes, eat and then open gifts.
These three assumed their usual positions on the floor in front of the tree.One of my sisters miraculously hadn’t gone to bed on Christmas Eve since she had an impossible number of things she wanted to accomplish before our Christmas celebration. I appropriately gifted her Obama-decorated-as-saints candles.I didn’t think this nephew would stick around after receiving the burlesque dictionary I’d gifted him, but he stuck around until the gift-opening had ended.For the other nephew, I gifted him a small journal made from recycled panda poo since he always read and jotted down information in perpetual research mode. I told him there were no ideas too crappy to write down in a panda poo journal! Of course, he had to sniff it.
Later, I helped him assemble a preowned practice drum kit that he and his sisters had bought for their mom. Truly a discovery learning process for us two Virgos since the box had no instructions nor diagram. He found a picture of an assembled practice drum kit for us to follow. There were a few missing pieces, but we assembled what we could and even had his mom to drum a little.
This had been the perfect visit in so many ways. There was only one awkward argument, which didn’t involve me, but I witnessed. I didn’t do a lick of work, unlike last Christmas, where my shitty job at the time didn’t give me many paid vacation days and I had to work half the time my parents were there. Plus, I’d established the tradition of sleeping in my nephew’s room, so I could close the door, blocking out much of the sound and light of the true night owls in the family who wanted to stay up later. We visited one family of cousins and another family showed up as well. And of course, I cannot forget about all the delicious food.
From the day I arrived, At least one person cooked something. I helped one of my nieces, who is a vegan, make peanut butter cookies. We started the process after midnight. Once the last batch had been laid out, I showered and went to bed, but my little niece kept going and made both chocolate chip and thumb print cookies, not going to bed until 4:30 AM.
My brother-in-law made three types of sweet potato pies: regular, vegan and sausage. Then he followed that up with many of the dishes, both regular and vegan, that we ate for Christmas Eve: mac and cheese, stuffing, string bean casserole and others. My sister made pecan pies. Mom made a cheesecake and potato salad. Dad made hash browns. My other sister brought a red velvet cake.
This was in addition to all the various fruit, nuts and processed snacks they normally buy in bulk. So, much food that I ate dessert after every meal. I limited myself to only one glass of wine a day, but still had eggnog nearly every day and a taste of moonshine at one point.
I did some yoga stretches every night, jogged on the treadmill once, and always agreed to go shopping just to get some walking in. I never have the new year’s resolution to lose weight–other than the temporary pounds I’ve gained with my holiday eating, coupled with my holiday reduction of exercise.
All in all, the nearest perfect Christmas visit as could be expected.