Happy Day-After-Christmas, everyone! If you’re reading this, it means you survived The Big Day 🙂
I’ve been thinking a lot about how my holiday routines have changed over the years…
On odd-numbered years, we spent Christmas in New England with my mom’s family. This tradition began prior to my parents’ divorce and continued afterward until I graduated from high school. After that, my work schedule didn’t allow for indulgent holiday traveling. Post high school, I continued the tradition of even-numbered years: to spend Christmas Day with my dad, his mother, brother, sisters and my cousins. I carry with me fond memories of both the New England and the Mid-Atlantic Christmases: my grandparents’ 15-foot tree, dumping my stocking beside the warm wood stove, my aunt curling my hair with new hot rollers and spying on the adult festivities with my cousins.
Actually, the tradition changed when Greg and I moved in together back in 2001. From that point on, I began spending Christmas Day with Greg and his family. I think we saw my parents too… but I don’t remember how we scheduled it. Either way, the Big Meal was served by either Greg’s mother or grandmother. In 2002, we got snow… a bunch of it. When departing from my in-laws’ house, our SUV slid off the driveway and took out one of the columns from their porch. (That “Picture-Perfect White Christmas” was a total pain in the ass.)
Part 1: Part One of my current Christmas Tradition comes in the beginning of December. Boyfriend’s kids spend The Big Day with their mom, so we’ve adapted our own holiday celebration so as not to conflict nor compete. Several weeks ago, we trekked into the woods toting a thermos of hot chocolate, a handful of ornaments and a few gifts. We picked a scenic spot by a creek and each hung an ornament on a nearby tree. We filled our travel mugs with cocoa and then sat down to open the small gifts. After some time for exploration, we packed up and hiked home. We’ve only done this for the past two years yet it is by far my favorite tradition yet.
Part 2: Since my divorce, I’ve spent Christmas Eve with my dad, his girlfriend, my sister and pseudo-stepbrother (and boyfriends or girlfriends, as applicable). This tradition has allowed me to have Christmas Day off: no obligations! (Ahhh, freedom!) Yesterday, for the fourth year in a row, Boyfriend and I slept late and then watched a movie, followed by a hike on one of our favorite trails. We took a drive in the country and returned home to nibble on leftovers from the previous night’s dinner while watching documentaries until late at night.
I must say that my current Christmas Routine is nothing like what I imagined it would be at this point in my life. Back in New England, when I looked toward the future, I envisioned my own offspring waking me up early in the morning and my husband and I watching them tear open their gifts with magical youthful passion in front of a glowing Christmas tree. It almost makes me laugh. Here I am, thirty-something years old, divorced from a man I refused to breed with and living in sin with a divorced dad. I don’t do the tree thing anymore. I no longer use wrapping paper. In truth, I don’t celebrate “Christmas”, but instead enjoy my own personal holiday blend. And while it’s nothing like what I thought I wanted, I wouldn’t have it any other way.