Thanksgiving was great. We ate. And ate and ate and ate and ate and then just sort of sat around groaning for a while. I was totally doing that disgusting thing where you are so full that you burp and get a little something extra in return. Ugh.
Anyway - goodbye Thanksgiving – HELLO CHRISTMAS! I love Christmas. Not the rampant commercialism and the gift giving frenzy, but all of the other holiday goodness. I love decorating the tree and singing Christmas carols and inflicting my awful baking on my neighbors. I love Christmas parties and Christmas stories and seeing how excited my children are.
I love that it actually snows here. I grew up in Vegas. When snow comes down there, it's a newsworthy event. I’m not kidding – they break into regular broadcast TV to share the exciting news. "I'm reporting live from North Las Vegas, where over TWO INCHES of snow has accumulated over here in the shady area underneath this patio umbrella.” And the camera then cuts to approximately three hundred children trying to use that small snowy patch for sledding.
Here is a picture I took back in Vegas one year before we moved, when it “snowed.” I was so excited and sent the picture to my friend in Minnesota, who emailed back, “That does not even qualify as SNOW. That’s – frost. You are a PANSY.”
Still, it was very exciting. We got the kids all bundled up, gloves, boots, coats – but by the time they got out there it had mostly melted. These days that much snow wouldn’t qualify for boots – it would barely even be a reason to put on flip flops. Still, I remember singing “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas," and feeling so wistful, wishing it would snow.
Hey. Pssssst…. You want to hear about my own personal really freaky coincidence/Christmas miracle (depending upon how cynical you are)?
One year in Las Vegas in December, when I was a kid, we were having a genuine cold snap and it was raining. I could just feel it, that it was THIS CLOSE to snowing. I knelt down and prayed, “Please, please, make it snow. If You make it snow I will never tell a lie again. Ever again. I promise.” I prayed with every bit of faith I could muster and I kid you not, five minutes later it started snowing. It was amazing.
So if this was a fake story, this would be where I changed my ways and never lied again. Obviously, that did not happen. Instead, I rationalized later that REALLY, technically, God hadn’t made it snow. It hadn’t even stuck to the ground! It was only sleet. What a jip-off! Bargain with God – SO NOT BINDING.
Lack of snow notwithstanding, we had a lot of fun traditions. Sometimes our parents would take us out for a drive to see all of the Christmas lights. Sometimes we even convinced my parents to take us down to the Strip to see the really BIG lights. Cruising the strip is probably not a typical Christmas tradition, I realize, but it was always fun, and we would sing Christmas carols as we drove past the Golden Nugget.
On Christmas Eve, our family would all dress up in bathrobes with scarves or towels on our heads and act out the Nativity scene. The girls always fought over who got to be Mary or the Angel. The younger, less aggressive kids ended up having to pretend to be shepherds, or even worse, sheep. I always wanted to be the narrarator, because then I'd get the biggest “part,” and I could control what was going on and who went where and I’d get to talk a lot. (Some things don’t change.) We still do it in our family, but we inflict it on the grandchildren – and they love it. And we love it.
Now that I’m married and have kids, my DH and I are still trying to build our own family traditions. DH refuses to go caroling with us. Last year we used our nativity set to act out the story. Unfortunately, the ceramic babe in the manger is now headless, the victim of an overzealous shepherds cane. We’re still kinda working on building our own traditions. I’m hoping to get some ideas from all of you for fun, creative, (hopefully cheap) stuff we can do with our kids this season, that will hopefully evolve into fun traditions.
What are your favorite Christmas / holiday traditions?