This is the second year of my life that I have ever been away from my hometown of Columbus Ohio for Christmas.
Every year since I was born I trekked to Columbus (from DC for the last 17 years) to spend the holidays with my family there.
Last year, my parents were in Taiwan so we left on Christmas day and headed out for an Asian adventure. That was strange not to be in Ohio, strange to travel on Christmas, but so well worth the trip!
This year, my parents are still in Taiwan, so we opted not to travel there again (a wonderful country, but a bit expensive to get there twice and I’m preggo now too).
So we stayed here and celebrated with my husband’s family.
It’s strange how traditions change as you get older, as travel schedules change, as marriages happen, as families expand or retract….
In Columbus at my parent’s house, every Christmas this was our plan: We would go to church on Christmas Eve and have a nice family dinner. Sometimes it was mass, sometimes children’s mass, sometimes just their standard mass – and even once in a blue moon we tried Christmas Day (but that was weird so we scorned that idea).
On Christmas Day we would come downstairs and first open our stockings full of silly toys and gifts. Then my mom would make a big breakfast with delicious crepes as the centerpiece of the meal that we would stuff with strawberries and whipped cream or powdered sugar and syrup. Finally, we’d open up presents (my brother and I would distribute) and we’d all tear open our gifts and then sit amid the torn wrapping paper and ribbons and bask in our Christmas bliss. We pretty much lazed around for the rest of the day in our jimmies, playing with toys, watching tv, napping….
That’s not how my husband’s family does their Christmas. It’s sort of the same, but strange little differences like quiche for breakfast (no crepes?) and way to much civility when they open presents (wait, you mean, you actually wait to see what other people got?). He even told me that when they were little they opened all their presents on Christmas Eve (the scandal!). And all this time, I just thought everyone had Christmas like ours….
I realize that now that I’m married, now that I have a baby on the way, my traditions are expanding. This year, my sister, brother and their significant others came to our house for a post-Christmas celebration this week. It was so fun to extend our celebration through the week, even if plans this year were vastly different than years past.
As I reflect on this past week, I realize that I’m not losing my family traditions, I’m gaining new ones….Oh, who am I kidding, I still think my Christmas traditions are the best! Doesn’t everyone??