Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Christmases

This was one of the best Christmases I can remember. Christmas is generally not at the top of my list of favorite holidays because I dislike what people turn it into, but this year it was unexpectedly pleasant and enjoyable. Our generous university president sent the staff home at noon on Wednesday, which allowed me some extra time to prepare for the impending festivities. We had a very white Christmas with record snowfalls in some parts of the state. Thankfully, we were blessed with safe travels throughout the storm. We enjoyed the company of relatives we rarely see and lots of relaxing leisure time on the days off work.

I suppose now would be a good time to introduce my boyfriend. It feels very strange to call an adult man my boyfriend, but manfriend sounds creepy, so boyfriend it is. He's very bashful and avoids attention whenever possible. He has, until this point, remained anonymous, but there would be lots of blank spots in this story if I left him out. I have lots of nicknames for him, but today I'll call him Blondie. Ladies might think that's cute, but men might think of Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name. Either way, it works. Sometimes I might call him MT, how his heart felt without me (I kid); or I might call him The Vulcan, his favorite Star Trek species.

Blondie's family had originally planned their Christmas celebration for Christmas morning, but since I wouldn't be able to spend much time with them on that day, they so kindly rescheduled for Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. On Wednesday evening we enjoyed a delicious meal, served on Mrs. T's fancy china, crystal, and silver. Then Mr. T read the Christmas story and we opened gifts. I received a fluffy blanket from Blondie's parents and a light scarf from his sister. My favorite gift was a lovely pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings from Mrs. T. She had met the jeweler at a conference and heard the meaningful story of how she equates the qualities of a pearl to the qualities people can use to strengthen their faith.

Blondie's sister (also a blondie, but she I've never seen her wear a crusty poncho) loves the tradition of opening stockings first thing in the morning, so on Christmas Eve morning, we all assembled for breakfast and stockings. The little surprises in Christmas stockings are always so much fun! The boys received butane lighters shaped like shotguns, which I'm sure will provide hours of fun. Everyone got a nifty little Scentsy car freshener. Mine was very appropriate for my personality: Clean Breeze. Blondie's was a good fit too: Simply Irresistible. Everyone also received very fancy athletic socks. I am sure that will help motivate me to stick with my exercise regimen throughout 2010!

When I was younger my immediate family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve and then spent Christmas day with my mom's large family. Now that all of my cousins have grown up and most have families of their own, the schedule is more unpredictable. In recent years we have celebrated Christmas on New Year's Day after the madness of the days immediately surrounding Christmas has subsided. However, this year my uncle and his family from Colorado were able to visit on Christmas day and the day after, so my family made the trip to my granny's house for a very tasty lunch and a game of Dirty Santa.

My granny raised five children, so she doesn't know how to cook a small meal. I have never eaten there when there wasn't more than enough food for our family and all of the neighbors. Everyone has their favorite dish, and of course she tries to please everyone! Some people like the ham and noodles, others like the green beans and new potatoes, one likes the sauerkraut and Vienna Sausages, and Julie and I like the blackened okra. It's not just fried. It's breaded in cornmeal and blackened. You can't order that in a restaurant. If you ask them to burn your okra, they look at you like you're crazy.

After lunch we opened our presents from Granny and played Dirty Santa. This year all of the men received deerskin work gloves, which went over really well because many of them work outdoors and know the value of good gloves! Granny gave all of the ladies necklaces handmade by my very talented cousin. I now have several of her creations; all of them contain black and red beads...I wonder if I might be just a tad predictable!

Later that day I joined Blondie's family at his grandmother's house for the tail end of their Christmas celebration. I had missed lunch, but I didn't miss out on the finger foods and desserts that she put out for people to nibble on throughout the afternoon.

On the day after Christmas, my immediate family got together for brunch and a leisurely day of visiting and playing games. My mom is a very good cook and she made a delicious breakfast. Somehow, every timer she set that morning failed to remind her when things were done (one was my fault) and everything still turned out great. We always wear our pajamas to breakfast at my parents' house and Julie and Mom started a tradition last year of wearing silly socks for Christmas, and since I am defiantly not silly, Julie equipped me with a very silly pair of socks to wear for our silly sock photo. Again, I received lots of great gifts including an iron, an electric drill, and another Scentsy Clean Breeze car freshener. Predictable? Yes.

Earlier that day my dad had gone to do chores and stopped by the local coffee shop to catch up on the morning gossip. One of his friends asked what he had planned for the day and he told him that Santa was going to visit. His friend asked what he thought Santa might bring and my dad told him that he had a wife and two daughters: a vacuum for his wife, a drill for one daughter, and a hammer for the other. His friend warned him that there might be some very disappointed ladies at his house later in the day. My family is very practical, so I must say that Santa was spot on!

I am a big fan of neatly pressed attire and I am sure my current iron is about to bite the dust. I dropped it on my tile floor and busted a large chunk of the plastic off. It still works, but looks pretty rickety. My mom took my Christmas list seriously and got me a replacement. My dad got me a drill because I had borrowed his for long enough that he decided I needed my own. It will definitely be put to good use!

My mom was preparing a tasty looking lunch when Blondie and I had to leave, but we had more Christmas to celebrate! We spent the afternoon and evening with his other grandparents and extended family. I had never met some of these folks, and it was nice to get to know them. We had another good meal and more Dirty Santa, where I acquired a nifty Scentsy warmer, much to Blondie's chagrin. He is not a fan of good smelling things that might make him sneeze. I promised him I would not use any scents that offended his nostrils.

I would say that this has been the Christmas of Scentsy and scarves. Lots of Scentsy items were exchanged this year, and I gave two scarves and received one! I gave Blondie a new wallet to replace the disintegrating one that he has used for the past ten years. He threatened to revert back to the perfectly functional velcro wallet of his high school years when this one wore out and I just couldn't have that. I also gave him a much too large pair of relaxy pants and a very nerdy book. He gave me a lovely pair of cacti which accompanied a very nice note, as well as some curiously strong magnets. Apparently the precariously affixed photos on my refrigerator make him nervous and he thinks these heavy duty magnets will help him to avoid knocking things off. He also snuck a new toaster oven under the tree. It was made very clear that this was not a Christmas gift, but it was mysteriously disguised as one, sitting under my Christmas tree, wrapped in Christmas paper.

Thank you to everyone who made this Christmas wonderful (and worth writing an absurdly long blog about) and thank you to the Special One who gave us Christmas in the first place.


Carina said...

That definitely was an insanely long post, but interesting, so it's all good.

Glad you and Blondie were able to ring in the New Year with us. =)

anewphelps said...

I knew most of your Christmas plans but really enjoyed reading them!! This was one of the best Christmas I can remember as well and I am sure that you being at our festivities played a big part in that.