December 28, 2011

Christmas - Hit or Miss

Is it wrong to rate OUR Christmas on a scale of 1 to 10? Probably -- but I do.  After everything is said and done, I do sit back and analyze.  I factor in everybody's moods, the weather, the food, the gifts, stress levels, did everything come together like I planned, etc.

In our house, the Christmas season kicks off December 1st. The grandparents give each child a delicious chocolate advent calendar for a Thanksgiving Day gift that we start opening the first of the month.  Each night we eat our treat and say a prayer for anything on our minds. We usually hear a bunch of I hope I get this or that but this year we heard a lot of prayers for people who are in need or grieving. I try and teach them the importance of being caring and loving of each other and other people (God knows there is not enough of that in the world) but you never REALLY know if it gets in or not.  So this warmed my heart.  We said a prayer each night for Jack Donaldson (a local boy who was killed in a tragic flash flood accident in September of this year at the age of 12 - totally heartbreaking).  We said prayers for our family and friends travelling and the ones we wouldn't be with this year.  Ok, I'm not going to lie there was SOME talk of stuff they would like to see under the tree.

Every other year we stay home for Christmas and this year was the year of "Our House". I definitely miss the grandparents, aunts and uncles and of course the white Christmas (it ALWAYS snows in PA) but I love waking up in our OWN beds safe, warm and together (just us).

Travelling at Christmas time has always been kind of a hot topic for us.  Hubby never stayed home for Christmas as a child.   I, on the other hand, always did.  When we first got married, I didn’t mind it too much but once we started having our own family, it really started to bother me that Santa had to find my children in PA and not in their own home (I've ALMOST come to terms with it though after 10 years). 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditions that his family embraces. Prince William’s family holds true to the old Polish traditions (and I love that about them).  On Christmas Eve, we do the breaking of the oplatki (blessed communion-type wafer shared amongst each other) and their Christmas Eve dinner (consisting of fried fish, perogies, mushrooms, rice, prunes, etc. representing the four corners of the earth) is the big celebratory meal.  After dinner we go to Church and come home to open gifts.  In the morning, we open a few gifts that Santa delivered and then end with a buffet luncheon at the local hotel in the area. 

My childhood Christmas traditions included Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in D.C., coming home to a buffet (consisting of ham, turkey, shrimp, cream cheese pie with cherries on top, etc.), waking up to presents in the morning and a big Christmas dinner with all the trimmings to round out the holiday.  I think I have said before that my upbringing wasn't the greatest but I do remember fondly the Christmas Eve buffets with my siblings. 

This Christmas, I hit the grocery store on the 22nd on my way home from work and purchased a small turkey, ham, and all the fixings.  Somehow I had a bit of extra time on my hands so I enjoyed 2 whole days of baking cookies with my sister (one of the high points of this Christmas for me) and I was able to prepare a nice buffet-type meal for Christmas Eve.  I had everything just about ready to go when we left for Christmas Eve Mass.

This year we attended Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Albeit crowded, the Mass was beautiful and the Cathedral was so nicely decorated.  The children were engulfed in the music and decorations and everything was "peaceful".  We circled around the National Christmas Tree and enjoyed the decorations all the way home.  When we returned home, we enjoyed our buffet and we spent some quality time together talking and giggling.  A PERFECT Christmas Eve in my book.

The next morning, we awoke to Sir T, K and Lady E JUMPING on our bed with twinkles in their eyes and Lady A yelling from her crib to hurry up.  The joy and excitement in their eyes made it all WORTH it. 

All in all, I give our Christmas a 10. I think what made this year so great is my new secret plan. Run ragged up until 3 days before Christmas and then sit back and let it play out. I had some REAL quality time with my sister, shared a few cocktails with hubby and laughed and hugged as much as humanly possible.   I even got to watch White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life.

I hope your holiday was as special as mine. Much happiness in the New Year to ALL and remember to keep counting your blessings.

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