It’s that time of year, Christmas and Thanksgiving followed by New Years. I love it because while hectic I really do enjoy the hustle and bustle that being with extended family brings. Both sides of my family are large with 25-35 on each side, while my husband’s is smaller, but just as crazy. I am always late putting up my tree because my business/ job is centralized around Christmas time so I have my own version of crazy.
My oldest daughter couldn’t wait to put up the tree so I let her go ahead while I was at work with my poor hubby had to oversee the ordeal. When I got home it seemed like Christmas had exploded all over the staircase, bookcases and every stocking that we own hanging in the hall. (I have several extra to change things up each year.) There were at least 10+ stockings and we only need 5 for those in our house, but they were all out and proudly displayed. One year she decorated her personal tree with the wiggly sprinkler as her garland, not my idea of decorations, but she was only six at the time.
Now, I’m old fashioned in that the day after Thanksgiving I must start listening to Christmas music to get me in the mood. Shopping, while fun is not what makes the holidays for me, they can only really start after we arrive at Granny’s house.
As the years pass the home has moved once or twice, but it’s the people and the atmosphere that make it home. I walk in and breath a sigh of relief that I’m home and among those that love me. From being grand-children to having children of our own, the type of responsibilities may have changed, but somehow the core remains the same. “Christmas Eve” could be held days after the actual date, but it begins for our family as we unload vehicles full of food, presents and ourselves until the hallway is full of hugging, happy people glad that we are all there. Snack food is quickly prepared and eaten as we all wait for the big moment. The Presents! Garbage bags and scissors at the ready, while seats are found on the floor wherever a spot can be found as we wait for the matriarch to read us the Christmas story from Luke 2. Old and young listen to the story of a baby’s birth in a stable, the mothers are teary as they imagine a birth taking place so far from home while the dads are contemplating how they could have found something better for their son to be birthed into the world. While the children listen quietly for a change. (Okay, they are just waiting for the presents.)
Our tradition to read the story began after a disastrous trip to the Christmas Eve service where hair was singed by the candles for the service. Deciding it w as safer for everyone to have our own moment with the story read at home so that all candles and flames could be monitored.
The children help hand out gifts and the opening starts with the youngest and continues until the oldest have all opened one each and then we go around the group again until all gifts have been opened. After the mess is cleaned up and the gifts are stored, the adults sit around trying to decide which new movie the group should watch. Eventually all have fallen asleep and Christmas is concluded to be over. For me the faces have grown older and we have added new ones over the years, but the traditions have been passed down to another generation of Paris descendants who will be eagerly awaiting next year’s travel to Granny’s house. So I have my Thanksgiving at the end of Christmas each year because I have such a loving, caring place to call home for the holidays where there really is peace on earth until the children start fighting over if they have to share their new toys. Oh, well maybe next year the peace will last just a little longer. One can always hope.