Special Christmas Traditions? Share Yours...
When I was growing up, we had both of my parents' families to deal with at Christmas. Dad's family always had Christmas breakfast at his brother's house. About 60 people. We were the first to leave every year, because my Mom's parents arrived at our house at 2:00 with the turkey, and we had to have everything else ready and waiting. At precisely 5:00 every year we called my aunt in Boston so Grandma and Grandpa could wish her a happy Christmas birthday.
So our immediate family -- Mom, Dad, my sister and me -- exchanged our gifts on Christmas Eve. Dinner was always shrimp cocktail, chicken breasts and a baked potato and peas served at the card table in front of the fireplace. Later, we would walk around the block to see all the neighbors' lights. Dad would always forget his sweater, and we would walk slow while he ran back to the house to get it. Of course, when we came back home, Santa had filled the stockings and piled presents under the tree, and we sat up late opening them.
Raising my own girls on the farm, there were usually just the four of us, miles from any other family. It often seemed hectic with the livestock and last-minute gift wrapping, so I began a tradition about 10 years ago of having Christmas Eve dinner late -- 8:00 or so, and I serve some kind of seafood that takes FOREVER to eat. Like a big Ceasar salad with whole crab and garlic bread. And by candlelight, too. It can take an hour for each of us to crack the shells and pick all the meat out of all those legs before we get to eat the salad! It forces everybody to relax, forget about everything else, and just enjoy one another for a long, slow meal. It's one of the few times all year that we all actually sit down to the kitchen table together.
This year, DD2 is in Michigan visiting her grandmother, and then her BF's family for the holidays, and DD1 will be coming Christmas Eve with her husband and daughter. I don't think 19-month-old Anna will sit for an hour of candlelit dinner, so perhaps this year it will just be shrimp. Then we'll open gifts. Christmas Day they will be with SIL's family, so DH and I will have the day alone together for the first time in our 26-1/2 years of married life. I'm thinking maybe it would be fun to drive up to Silver Falls in the afternoon and take a walk if it's not raining. Otherwise, it will be barn chores at both ends of the day with a welcome nap in between!
What are your traditions and special plans?