Saturday, June 13, 2009

#12: 2007 Christmas Holiday

Dear Readers,

I was born December 26, more commonly known as The Day After Christmas in the US and Boxing Day in the UK. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, questions what it is like to have a birthday in the pathetic aftermath of such an important Christian day. It took several years before succumbing to the peer pressure of their questioning, and my family agreed to my request to change the celebratory date to July 26. Such a silly thought, but I appreciate their giving in to this whim. After a year or two, it was moved back to reality. (For those of you in calculation mode, yes, I had to wait 1 1/2 years to receive a birthday present at the changing back of the date.)

The nice thing about a 12/26 birthday is that I've never had to go to school or work on this day and have always been with my family. 12/26 has become an extension of the Christmas holiday that is not wholly owned by me, which is fine.

The current tradition is: early evening Christmas Eve church service at Covenant Presbyterian (thank you John Peterson) and a dinner of h'ors deurves at Mom's house. Stockings are hung over the fireplace, presents are put out, and everyone goes to bed for a restless night of sleep, anxiously awaiting the next day. The family gathers relatively early on Christmas morning for niece Jennifer's egg casserole, cinnamon buns and tea. And then there is the tradition of freshly squeezed orange juice started by our father.

On Christmas morning, we all gather round and take turns, in order of age, to open a present at a time. If you sneak off to take a quick bathroom break and your turn comes up, it halts the whole process and creates quite an aggravation within the group, so best to monitor your tea consumption.

The rest of the morning is spent playing with all the toys received, then a light lunch, and then the whole family crashes. If someone were to wander into our mother's house mid-afternoon on Christmas, they'd find bodies laid strewn on every bed, sofa, and sometimes on the floor and might think that there had been a mass murder, quite possibly conducted by the lone nephew who stayed awake and is hacking away on Mom's computer. Dinner that night is orchestrated by our 80-something year old mother who still holds the secret to the best turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, and most importantly, The Stuffing.

The day after Christmas means an early morning of visiting the downtown shops for their after-Christmas sales. We are talking about a very, very small town, so there are only a few places to visit, but ones that have high quality items. Then home to hang out, take a walk around the neighborhood, and then anxiously await going to niece Jennifer and her husband Sei's home for dinner. It's always a fabulous dinner, and everyone looks forward to it. After dinner, there's a quick nod to it being my birthday, and then we move on to more important things...Gag Gifts.

It all started years ago. While Mom doesn't suffer from it as badly as Andrew and I do, I know she has Input somewhere high in the ranking. Long ago, Mom decided to clean out some closets and "generously" give away some of the items she's collected over the years. We are not talking about heirlooms...these are things received from opening a bank account or who knows where. They are all wrapped up and placed under the Christmas tree in the living room. We gather around, draw a number from an old purse, and select a present from under the tree to open. The rules are: the person with the next number can steal from you or select another unopened present from under the tree; and no matter what you end up with, you are required to take it home with you (and dispose of as you wish).

We have all ended up with some dire presents. One year, someone got busted for tucking hers in a corner of Mom's attic when we all weren't looking. The worst though was when nephew Bo, about 6 at the time, opened up a package that contained a pair of "granny panties", and tears ensued. I don't remember who, but some adult graciously "stole" them from Bo, in which the child ended up with something just as ridiculous, but less embarrassing.

For Christmas holiday 2007, there was a new distraction from the annual routine. Andrew had entered my life 3 weeks earlier, and I already suspected that he could be the most important person I've ever met. The promise of writing an e-mail daily doubled to twice a day...on both sides.

On December 26, 2007, the e-mail with the link to the birthday present from Andrew was received...

Lisa Jane

P.S. Over the holidays, Andrew not only learned what my real life name was, but saw the first image of me. Niece Alex snapped this photo while I was on the computer...

No comments:

Post a Comment