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Christmas: 2010 Edition

We came. We saw. We ate too much sugar and got tummy-aches. Then we ate some more. It must be Christmas time! Having gotten through Halloween and Thanksgiving, our next indigestion-inducing holiday won’t come until Passover, and that’s an entirely different flavor of indigestion!

We launched the season with a trip on the Santa Express at the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven Kentucky. The Whitworths were worried about a snowy forecast, but we ended up with just enough to make everything pretty and call school off for the next day. The trip was great fun. Simon enjoyed the cookies and the stickers. He wasn’t sure what to do with the hot cocoa, so I drank his, thus beginning a two week period of overindulgence and indigestion. Amusingly but predictably, Simon was blasé about Santa and Mrs. Claus’s entrance on the train (We don’t do Santa; Simon only knows of him as a character in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.) On the other hand, the conductor thrilled him and was nice enough to show Simon how to punch a ticket.

Punching the Ticket

The Highlight

Then it was time for holiday specials on TV. Simon liked A Charlie Brown Christmas well enough, but it was How the Grinch Stole Christmas that made his heart grow three sizes. We watched it every day for a while there, and Simon offered this insightful exegesis:

“The Grinch is like Darth Vader. He became a good guy at the end.”

Glad to see his literary criticism skills emerge!

Then it was time for the big events: Christmas Eve at my house and Christmas Day at the Whitworths. By now we have established a tradition wherein the family gathers for dinner and presents at my house on Christmas Eve, and then reassembles along with some family friends at Jim and Evie’s on Christmas Day. New to the affair this year, a (blogged about) tree at our house. Not new at all: a day of frantic cooking and cleaning on December 23 and 24. Also not new: a day of abject laziness on December 25 and a mostly futile attempt at a family portrait.

The Best We Managed

By now, this affair, like Chanukah, has a comfortable ring to it. Which tells me that I’m doing my job of creating family rituals. The 2010 rundown is as follows:

  • Laugh-out-loud moment: Sneaking a minute to read David Brooks and Gail Collins in the New York Times. David is a self described “Jew for Christmas” who argued that Christmas is one of the nicest things Christians have brought us, alongside “mac and cheese, Bono, croquet, and politeness.” It was that last bit that did me in.
  • Unexpectedly emotional moment (sad): When Evie gave me two ornaments: one an orange tabby, the other a brown one, to memorialize Percy and Tristan on my tree.
  • Unexpectedly emotional moment (happy): Seeing Cambria pose under our tree once we got a skirt in place. And seeing TJ, aka “Kitty Friend”, the formerly too thin and battle-scarred stray, in his new filled-out form, coat a glossy black, wearing a Christmas collar and with nary a battle scar in sight.
  • Day Matt finished his shopping: December 23. One day earlier than last year.
  • Injury list: Matt, for slightly belated, annual December sinus misery.
  • Large toy cluttering living room pre-December 24: Tomika Mega City Train set, soon to be re-assembled in the guest bedroom.
  • Large toy cluttering living room post-December 24: Air Hockey Table. Likely to stay there through New Year’s Eve!

He Could Get Used to This

  • Too much or too little food on Christmas Eve? Just about right. I’m getting better!
  • Minutes behind schedule serving Christmas Eve dinner? Zero. I’m getting better!
  • How complicated the menu? TRAGIC misconception of “homey”as synonymous with “simple”. Dear heaven, every recipe involved separate glazes or sauces, toasted or crisped something or other, and multiple pans. I never learn!
  • Boxing Day exhaustion/crabbiness factor: Not too bad. We managed a play-date with Baron, a trip to the Comfy Cow for ice cream (my poor stomach!), some basketball in the basement, and some air hockey upstairs. Then we got Simon tucked in by 8:15.

Family member I’m the most grateful for: Evie, who once again put on a great Christmas dinner without looking any the worse for wear, and who chose truly thoughtful presents for me, Matt, and Simon.

p.s. Album will be updated by tomorrow morning with the rest of our holiday shots.

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