Every year when my sister and I were growing up, my grandparents on my mother's side would stay at our house on Christmas Eve so that Christmas morning we could wake up and open presents together. It just wasn't Christmas if we weren't all together, getting up too early, in our pajamas opening gifts. Also on Christmas Eve, we would go across the street to my friend the Lady Doctor's mother's house for a party. My best girl friends were there and we'd exchange gifts before retiring to wait for the sound of Santa's sleigh. People grow up, parents move, and grandparents get sick -- things change, and so, too, must traditions.
The first blow was when Lady Doctor's mother moved off of our street. We revised our partying ways, but still managed to spend our Christmas Eves together. My grandparents got older and we even ended up spending one Christmas at their house in Rehoboth when my grandmother was too ill to travel. I think the hardest Christmas of all, though, was the year that my grandmother died. On Christmas morning. She had cancer, my grandfather had died earlier that year, and she was spending Christmas in the hospital, alone. Her biggest worry, which she had expressed to me, was that my grandfather would be alone without her. Maybe it's a little simplistic, but I believe he came to get her that day so that neither of them would be alone on Christmas. It was the worst Christmas my family ever had. After that year, we had a hard time getting our traditions back in order, but when I think back on it, I don't remember specifics. It's funny how the mind does that for you.
One year, shortly after, the Christmas Eve party moved to my parents' house. WH joined the mix seven years ago -- this will be his eighth Christmas with my family. My parents sold my childhood home and moved into a condo a few years back, so we adjusted our traditions again. Some years friends are traveling for Christmas, so they miss the party. We've added new friends, husbands, and babies -- some years bigger than others. But what's really important is that we are together, my family and whomever can make it that year. There is always enough food for everyone, a gift for each guest to open, and enough holiday cheer (liquid and otherwise) to sustain us well into the New Year. And I've learned that the best tradition is one that doesn't just happen once a year, but that embodies a sentiment that builds on the love of family and friends and carries itself all the year through.
|Merry Christmas from WashingTina!|