Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!!

I hope everyone has a great Christmas Eve/ Christmas / Kwanzaa / Hanukkah / Festivus / Solstice (what did I miss?)

For those out there that do Santa...does he wrap or not? Do you do the PJ's? Does everyone take turns unwrapping or do you just go for it? Do you have a traditional Christmas Eve dinner? Traditions? We are in Utah having Christmas with my parents this year. It was originally because they were going to be alone, but we started a trend because now we have EVERYONE but one family here for Christmas. We are having to coordinate traditions. Luckily, Lulu is the only one big enough to really remember so we get to set the tone this year. My poor inlaws (who normally have a house FULL at Christmas) are all alone. Everyone is at their inlaws this year. So, my mother in law and father in law are going to go out for Chinese and re-create the scene from A Christmas Story. When we all get home around New Years we are having "Second Christmas" at their house. Just what my kids need. A Second Christmas.

At Derek's house Christmas Eve is very formal. For dinner we dress up and have something like rack of lamb or goose. Then we open PJ's and everyone goes home. In the morning, we get the kids up to open gifts at our house and then we head over to the "big" house and do it again. We usually have eggs benedict for breakfast and the unwrapping goes on so long that we often take a break in the middle for breakfast. Lauren thinks that is terrible. The waiting, the fancy food. The adults think it is nice, but there is nothing that will make a kid turn into a crabby patty faster than a dress and roasted goose.

My parents do things very informally. It is all about the kids at this house. We have fondue for dinner and other munchie things (sweet and sour meatballs, cheese platter, brownies, artichoke dip, etc). They also make a big ham and turkey for everyone to eat during both days. We usually play a game of some sort on Christmas Eve. Santa leaves one big thing unwrapped and everything else goes under the tree. We take turns opening, but I think that this year that might change. There will be 17 people here this year, mostly children and no one wants to deal with that. During the day we nap, eat and just hang out. Nothing too fancy, very relaxing.

It is nice to have both a formal and an informal Christmas. Now, all I am waiting for is to be able to have our OWN Christmas. I know it seems selfish, but one of these years we are going to have it at our own house. No schlepping, no traveling...just home in my own bed, my own kitchen and letting the kids run crazy. No keeping them from breaking things at Grandma B's. No keeping them from fighting with the cousins at Grandma K's. Someday. For now, we will continue to break things and fight with cousins and be glad that we have both options.

Happy Holidays!!!


~j. said...

I maintain that in this stage of my life, if anyone (family) wants to see me or mine at Christmas, they can come to me. We're doing our own. We welcome all...but we stay here.

Bek, when can we get together this week? I am on pinznneedles wanting to know when your schedule will allow for lunch or dinner or somesuch.

Bek said...

Jen... I think that this last week got busier than I intended. I had sick kids and lots of busy work to do... I will be here through Friday so lets pick a time!! I would love to see the new little man..... :-)

Queen Scarlett said...

I'm with ~J on this. It's what we decided - once we had kids... Christmas will be at our house - Santa comes to us. Plus - it was inspired by the need for normalcy and watching all my friends and how crazy it was for them bringing gifts and schlepping things from place to place.

Plus - I'm more of a casual/informal bent when it comes to Christmas stuff - so my family is fabulous that way - and they are always accommodating about stuff like this.

We do new PJs for Christmas and we take turns opening gifts.

Hope you guys have fun in UTAH! Can we get the Utah bloggers out to NorCal soon? ;-)

b. said...

Merry Christmas Bek.....Utah is the best, huh?
Christmas Eve Dinner....Clam Chowder
Christmas Day....Ham, Turkey, munchies and lounging in PJ's all day!

Ana said...

Merry Christmas Bek! I am feeling so relieved to be having Christmas at home.

We definitely do PJs ... you can see them at my blog today. And a pageant on Christmas Eve, as well as we can with only four players ... well, five, now, but one can only play the infant Jesus ...

We open them on Christmas Eve and let the kids each open one other thing, as well.

Essential foods are ham, oranges, chocolate, pistachios, and candy canes ... also tamales if we get lucky with some of our compadres from the Spanish branch.

All the presents are wrapped ... that's tradition from DH's family. We're totally not formal. My folks have a somewhat formal Christmas Eve ceremony that always includes a reading of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales," which I think was mainly there to torture little kids who were waiting to open their one present. We haven't picked up that tradition ... I miss it a bit, but my kids would never make it through.

Suzie Petunia said...

Merry Christmas! We're at my parent's home and we have indulged in every single tradition our family has ever loved and enjoyed. It has been the best Christmas ever! I hope your's has been wonderful, too.

compulsive writer said...

I'm with ~j.

On all counts...

AzĂșcar said...

Since we have the (1) grandchild in either family, it's no big deal to pack up and drive the 3 miles to Nana's house. I like it because then I do not have to do the major cooking/coordinating of the events.

b! We ALSO have clam chowder for Christmas Eve dinner. Except this year my mom had other relatives over earlier so we didn't end up having the candlelight dinner with the nice china. We did have plenty of tamales (that I made because I wanted to, not out of some forced tradition.) We always read the Nativity story from the Bible.

It was nice that we didn't have to travel across the country for any holidays this year.

Mostly we're casual--there just aren't that many of us yet. I have three brothers and sisters, and there's only one grandchild. We had Christmas at our place with our presents and stockings before we went to Nana's for second Christmas. Since we started picking names, it's no big deal to take two or three presents with us. Nana's is kid friendly already so I can pass out on the couch as needed and not worry about monitoring anyone.

New PJ's for the little kids on Christmas Eve.
Santa wraps everything (there isn't that much to wrap; it's a modest Christmas.)
We take turns opening gifts.

tracy m said...

My family does it exactly like yours-- my dh's does the more formal thing on Christmas Eve. We usually bow out early.

This year, I had exactly what you are wanting- we STAYED home and did it our way, never even got dressed yesterday, did Cinnabons and sausage for breakfast, then the ever traditional "Christmas Enchiladas!" for dinner. Yes, I made Mexican food for dinner, and it rocked!

wendysue said...

Christmas Eve, we usually are with Matt's family. . .and casual.

Usually we have steamed shrimp (Old Bay Seasoned), ham, whatever else. . .then the cousins open their presents to each other (they pick a name after Thanksgiving dinner). . .we play games and hang out and EAT!

Once we get home with our little family we open 1 present (always pj's), watch Luke 2,(set to Silent Night by Manheim Steamroller)--perfect and so meant to be together it's scary. . .then bedtime. .

Santa leaves all his gifts unwrapped (this was a tradition from my family)...this way the parents can still half sleep while the kids play. Then the passing out of presents and craziness begins. we usually start out taking turns, but then it's taking too long and we let them go nuts.
Sometime during presents I sneak out and make scones for breakfast, and we just snack all day.

Usually in the afternoon we go to a movie with Matt's family (this year was Charlotte's Web), then go to the church building to run around and play games. . .

compulsive writer said...

Since you asked: I wrap the few presents from us. Santa doesn't have time to wrap. PJs lose their charm in a family of mostly males who are genetically wired to go to bed wearing as little as possible. Clam chowder for dinner. Finally I got smart and we pick it up from McGraths. Although this year since it was Sunday I purchased Ivars from Costco and I wasn't disappointed.
Once I had kids I was adamant that Christmas morning be spent at our own house. We do invite my mother, however, because she has been alone for decades and who wants to spend Christmas morning alone? We also end up later at her house for dinner.
Word to the wise for all of you youngins out there: When starting family traditions don't set yourself up for entire days of baking year after year. I did and I wish I could either narrow it down a bit or be better at encouraging more help.
We have a lovely array of pulla, braided bread with cherry and cream cheese filling, chex mix (I need some salty with all the sweets), the requisite sugar cookies, eggnog and sprite, and a yummy breakfast casserole all laid out to snack on throughout the day. Along with whatever the neighbors have been dropping by...
Two days later there are still remains of crumbs on the table. The Christmas cards are falling down from their display almost as quickly as the leaves are dropping of my once-pretty poinsettia. We are still knee-deep in boxes, wrapping paper and instructions. And the books I order two weeks ago from Amazon (those that were shipped three-day express from UPS) barely arrived. I went back to work yesterday and I am just too tired to deal.
Maybe tomorrow...

Jenny said...

We're still trying to figure out our own traditions but we're leaning toward the informal. Im not a china and crystal kind of girl.

Queso said...

"There is nothing that will make a kid turn into a crabby patty faster than a dress and roasted goose."

There is so much truth and comedy in this statement, I can't even stand it! Hope you guys had a happy Christmas.

Design Mom said...

Oh yes. I vote for Christmas at your own house next year!

Happy, Happy New Year!!