Christmas Eve was spent with my mom's extended family. It was painfully embarrassing, but Aunty Jean would make everyone perform for their presents. The kids would run wild in the spare rooms while the adults drank and caught up. Then just my mom's siblings would gather up the kids and we'd go over to Grandpa's house to open stockings. He had the coolest stockings. None of them matched, but they were all huge and chock full of goodies. I remember thinking those stockings must have magic qualities similar to Mary Poppins's bag. I'd keep reaching and reaching farther and farther in and it seemed more and more would come out. When Kelsiann and I were younger, we'd fall asleep by the fire or in the game room before midnight so our parents would scoop us up and take us home. We'd open more presents the next morning and Santa would leave anotherstocking for us. As we got older, we sweet talked our parents into letting us open our presents Christmas Eve night. But every morning there'd be big presents from Santa and always our stockings would be full. We'd find ourselves at my dad's side of the family. Our grandparents' house was always loud. The cousins would be wrestling in the living room or in Grandma's room watching tv. There'd be more presents, but we'd have to wait until everyone was done eating and the food was settled. It was like a shotgun at a race when one of the adults announced it was present time. The younger kids would sort out the presents, everyone would have a stack in front of them.
We'd always have a big loud, crazy, exciting Christmas. But I grew up and things changed. Christmas didn't include all my cousins. I didn't see extended family that I normally never see. There was only one Christmas celebration. Not to say that it was bad. Mama, Seester, and I had a great time together. We had our own way of doing things and no one could tell us we couldn't do what we wanted. My mom always found a way to surprise us on Christmas. Our stocking were always full on Christmas morning. In the end, I still had family with me.
In college, Christmas became less and less. In fact, I stayed at school and worked my senior year. Christmas was just another day, except all the stores were closed. Lame.
This year is different. I have Will now and we're a new family. We didn't go all out, but we bought a few Christmas dish towels and we put our cards up on the wall. We tried to put up a string of ornaments, but it fell. This is our first holiday season together and we're trying to figure out the beginnings of our own traditions. It's an exciting time of year again. I'm still feeling twinges of sadness over missing out on being with the rest of my family. I still wish I could be in Oregon with Mama or in Hawaii with Daddy. But Seester is here. My husband is here. That's enough to make me happy today.