Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Different Christmas

I guess I should tell you that traditions are sacred to me, especially the ones that we have been doing since my childhood. Heck, some traditions that I started last week on a whim are sacred and important to me. They give me a sense of stability and focus in a world that is ultimately out of control, that changes moment to moment, with very little to count on. P does something once, and if he never does it again, I freak and think he is bucking tradition and withdrawing his love. See, one thing you need to know about this family is, we kind of kill it at Christmas. Our traditions are great, the food is awesome, and we have been doing things exactly the same since the 80's. We eat the same food, go to the same places, the only things that change are the outfits, cars, and hairstyles. Imagine how distraught I was when I came home to find, Different Christmas.

Last year, my parents moved their Christmas tree. For more than 20 years, the tree stood in the same place year after year. Then suddenly, last year, they willy-nilly moved the tree without any respect to my feelings, my objections, or pleas to leave it where it had historically always been. That is strike 1.

This year, my 86 year old grandmother moved her tree. I walked into her home on the 23rd to visit and the first thing I asked was "Grandma, why did you move the tree?" She replied, "I told J (my cousin) to just put it up anywhere this year."  Strike 2 family.

Every year, my grandmother gives everyone money for Christmas. It always comes to us in bank envelopes with our names on it. Those envelopes are folded and put into small Christmas bags that grandma circle grandma's tree. And after we open our present, she says "Give me back those bags." I have been getting my Christmas present out of that same bag since I started talking. This year, no bags. Grandma just went to her closet and passed out envelopes to everyone. WTF I want my bag grandma.....you just earned this family strike 3.

This year, there were more people around grandmas kitchen table for Christmas Eve lunch than ever before. Did you catch the first change? More people. Cousins brought boyfriends, and sketchy man friend/maybe fiance friends. And uncle brought lady friend/promise ring/girlfriend/possibly wife number 4 to lunch. Second change, Christmas Eve lunch. Lunch I tell you. Have you ever heard of such a thing? A Christmas Eve lunch at Grandmas? Gumbo is good, but not as good when you have it at lunch rather than dinner. New people, that's strike 4 and early food, strike 5.

And we went to the afternoon service at church. We have never gone to the afternoon service at church in my entire life. We have always gone to church at midnight, each and every single year of my existence. Even in my asthma filled, croup having, nearly getting pneumonia life, have we ever skipped church at midnight. But this year, my mother flippantly told me we are going early this year. I really want to call this one strike 6, but I am positive, that if I call out my Lord and Savior, it would be me that got the strike, both literally and spiritually. So, no strike for you Jesus, but I wont forget this one.

And, the nativity scene was moved this year. No giant baby in the nativity scene on the left side of the church this year. Again, I hesitate to give a strike on this one. See above for rational.

Hold on where, are we?

Why is everyone monkeying around with our traditions? Why is everything suddenly changing? Why is it this year we decide to unlove everything we have loved about Christmas for decades? Why do we keep calling it Christmas? We should probably change the name to Winter Solstice, lets eat a bunch of food and sit around Day.

To say I have been losing it mentally these past few days would be an understatement. But, I have put on a happy face and kept trucking on.

But, I guess I have to give myself some perspective, because even though those changes are upsetting, I know that the big traditions are still the same.

I know how fortunate I am to still have my grandmother. She is aging quickly, but I still get to go to her home where she has lived since 1950 and eat a Cajun feast with my family. That is the most important thing.

I am also fortunate to have my parents. They open their home to anyone all year, especially during the Christmas season, so I guess I can forgive them for moving the tree and changing church times.

I am blessed with a husband who has allowed us to spend every single Christmas since we have been dating with my family. That's a tradition that I take for granted every year. I know he does it because he loves my family, but I also know he does it because P puts me and my needs before himself everyday.

And, minus one sketchy manfriendpleasedontlookinmydirectionortalktomeorsaymynameandfortheloveofGoddontsitnexttomeguy, those new people were really nice and fun.

I guess the little changes don't matter in the grand scheme of things do they? What matters is that I get to stay up late and hang out with people I love and that love me. I get to celebrate the birth of my Savior. I get to sing, pray, and eat birthday cake for Jesus. I get to come to a home where I feel safe, loved, and be around all the people that mean the most to me in the world. I get to drive around town, and every single turn I make, I am thrust down memory lane, and smile as I drive by the street where my childhood best friend lived.

All in all, its been a good Christmas. Not the best, I mean, with all those strikes how could it be. I would give this a 9.64 on the Christmas rating scale. I was hoping to be WOWED this year and have a Christmas that was off the charts like 2 years ago, the last year when everything was the same. That year was awesome. It was like a 25 or something. Even though I didn't recognize how good I had it at the time, I should have.

Merry Christmas y'all. Go hug your families, eat good food, and don't do anything new. And if you  watch the news and find out about a girl that was struck down by a lightning bolt, that will probably be me.

What are some of your tradition? Anything new this year?


Lena said...

We broke a few traditions here too but it's all good. Merry Christmas!

Denise said...

every Christmas looks different from the previous ones for me - honestly, I am beginning to really not enjoy Christmas as much...(really sad but true). In the end - all is well though - right?

Brooke said...

i'm a big fan of tradition, but jay and i alternate Christmas each year. i do NOT like Christmas in West Virigina away from my family. not. one. bit.