I *love* the holidays.
I love the food (turkey, mashed potatoes, tons of cookies and pies), the decorations, the snow, Christmas movies, Christmas music-- oooh, I especially love Christmas music. One of the autistic kids I work with has a penchant for Christmas music, and so we sing it all year round- or, at least, I sing it as a re-enforcer for him doing his work, and we both win! (Though, I do have to admit, singing "let it snow" in the middle of July can be a bit strange...) When Christmas comes around (or around November 16th, the first time I heard a Christmas song on the radio) I tune into either 95.7 (my oldies station) or 99.1 and drink in all of the music I can.
For Christmas, Mikey and I stay at my parents house, because my parents do Christmas-- I mean, they really do Christmas. And just because we're all getting older doesn't mean they don't go the whole nine yards. It's funny, being twenty four and still getting gifts from Santa and the elves and such, but I love it. All of us kids are either in high school, college, or beyond, but they still do pretty much the same thing they've been doing since before I can remember, and I wouldn't change it for the world. These traditions make Christmas Eve and Christmas my two favorite days out of the whole year. Here, I'll give you a brief(ish?) run down of our traditions:
Christmas Eve night, my family gathers together and watches either "A Christmas Story" (which is, by the way, one of my favorite movies of all time) or "It's a Wonderful Life". We drink hot chocolate (with a little something extra in it, of course ;P) until *gasp!* we get report that the elves have visited! We run upstairs, and on our beds (or on a sibling's bed, for those of us who have moved out) are nicely wrapped presents-- ever since we were little, the 'elves' would leave us pajamas on our beds on Christmas eve, that we put on right away, and don't change out of until halfway through Christmas day. The younger kids go to bed, and the three of us older kids (and now, Mikey) help Mom and Dad wrap the presents, while drinking winter drinks with winter liquor in them, and watch the Christmas episodes of South Park. You can always tell what gifts were wrapped later in the night, because those are the gifts that are labeled, "From: Blinky, the drunken elf", or "Tanya, Rudolph's spurned lover" and hilariously inappropriate names scribbled in handwriting a little worse than a fourth grader (and, consequently, a little better than Mikey's).
The past two years, I've added an additional step to my holiday celebration, to blend Mikey and my Christmas traditions together- We go to his church (across the street from the house we're living in now) for midnight mass to watch his Dad and Stepmom sing in the choir. Last year, Mikey and I went alone, but in past years, more of his siblings joined in, and Mikey and his sister toast to one another a few times before heading over. Translation: Mikey and his sister do shots before going to midnight mass. It's hilarious, a really oddly sweet tradition, and I wouldn't change it for the world. I DD us back to my parent's house after the event, so Mikey can fully enjoy his time with his family.
We head back, and help with any of the wrapping that still needs to be done, and we all collapse into beds, exhausted.
We are always woken up by the youngest of us (and they know who they are) and I am always hopelessly grumpy, due to lack of sleep. On the end of our beds is a gift- unlike the pajamas, the gift on the end has no rhyme or reason- that we get to open right away. After waking us up, the younger kids wake up my Mom and Dad, let them head downstairs ahead of us with camera in hand, and then call us down when they're posed at the ready to take pictures of our faces.
The tree is always surrounded completely with a barrage of gifts, but we aren't allowed to open those yet- first, there are the stockings. We all attack them, eating candy, opening little gifts (make-up, tools, jewelery, random tom foolery) and throw wrappers at one another. After stockings, we have to wait for breakfast to be ready to open any of our other gifts. We eat a breakfast feast of muffins and bacon and eggs, and then head into the room and open all of our gifts. Although some of my siblings try to open theirs right away, I try to hold off on opening my gifts as long as possible- I enjoy being the last one who opens a gift. My older brother and I do it as a kind of contest, now, but I'm pretty sure I'm still the reigning champ.
After gift opening, Mikey and I head over to his relative's house, so we can spend time with them on Christmas as well. Even though it's a lot of traveling, we both enjoy being able to spend time with one another's family-- we got very lucky in our in-laws, and the drives are worth it.
Soo0- I love Christmas--the whole month of December is Christmas time, to me.
And, since our three year anniversary is on Thursday (the 9th), we've both taken off of work tomorrow, and we're going to Chicago (where he proposed) to celebrate our relationship, Christmas style.
We used to celebrate our monthiversaries with themes--and we still do, when we can-- like in October, we had a haunted-house-iversary. Our first month-i-versary was our book-i-versary. We exchanged our favorite books with one another, and read them, to better understand each other. It was great! We've had book-i-versaries, pool-i-versaries, florida-i-versaries, pizza-i-versaries, pajama-i-versaries, etc. It's less, now, about what number month, and more about a celebration of our relationship, and different parts of us. So, this month, we're doing a Christmas-i-versary. This is going to be our first Christmas with our own tree, and we cooked our first turkey together this Thanksgiving-- and it feels like a next step for us. We feel like we're growing together as our own little family unit, and so these holidays are kind of a way to mark our growth.
So, we're going to chop down our tree tomorrow morning, put it in our living room, and then head down to Chicago, where we're going to visit the Christkindlmarket (http://www.christkindlmarket.com/en/) and other Christmas-y things (Mikey's keeping some of our date a secret). When we come home, we're hoping to decorate our tree (depending on how late we get back), and cram as much Christmas celebration into tomorrow as possible.
Have you ever combined a holiday celebration with a relationship celebration?
**Including this one, I've used "Christmas" in this post 27 times**