It’s Tuesday so that means Coffee Chat with Time Out For Mom. Just click the coffee cup to link up or read other’s posts, or both.
Today we are chatting about our family holiday traditions.
The most significant tradition is the Christmas Eve family gathering. Long before my existence, my grandmother on my mom’s side made a point of inviting folks to their family Christmas Eve. With 8 kids I guess she figured there was plenty of room for more chaos in the house. Mom’s family opened their gifts on Christmas Eve along with friends and extended family so I was born into that tradition. It wasn’t Christmas without going to grandma and grandpas for Christmas Eve with the whole family. I’m guessing with kids included (cousins, aunts, uncles, strays) the largest gathering might have had 50 or so folks? Food, drinks, and lots of outstanding memories.
As we all got older, the grands moved to Florida during the cold months. This puzzled me until I started dealing with the cold on a more physical level and now I get it. They sold the big farm house and had an apartment here, a condo in Ft. Lauderdale, coming in town for Christmas then back to the warmth. This meant others had to step up and take over the hosting of this family tradition. In town siblings of mom each took turns, so it didn’t die out. We even had it at my uncle’s funeral home! Folks driving by must have thought we’d lost our minds, a tree up and decorated, folks smoking on the porch, drinks and food and laughs. Yes, we are one warped bunch of love and fun.
Once when we hosted at the Diva Den, my son was on duty and showed up, and my brother was on, so we had a cop car and a very large fire truck/quint here with guys from the fire dept. in tow. No doubt the neighbors were wondering what in the world was going on over here, because everyone knows you get extra party points if the cops and fire department show up to your party!
Since moving into the Diva Den we’ve hosted the event twice, which I totally love! But it is a lot of work. Sadly, it is coming to an end. My cousins all have kids, some are spread out across the country now. My aunts and uncles, now grandparents, are wanting to visit their offspring and grandbabies, and the older my aunts and uncles become, the harder it is to travel during potential bad weather.
Rather than end it, though, it is simply time to morph it into branches of celebration. The Divas will now host it for our siblings and their children, with mom as matriarch over the event like grandma used to be. To all of us, raised that family is the greatest wealth we truly ever have, this is great! We will invite strays, and any relatives who have no where to go and care to venture over. As money is tight we decided that we were not doing gifts this year, just memories.
This is how I prefer Christmas to be. The ex and I never did buy each other anything for Christmas. This was okay with me, as we always got what we needed and a lot of things we wanted throughout the year. I prefer the things you cannot buy, time with folks I love. How do you put a price on, purchase, and wrap that kind of crazy fun we had on Thanksgiving playing Catch Phrase? You don’t! But young and old, we will all remember that night and laugh again, filling up inside with warmth. THAT is what matters. I hate the commercialization of the holidays.
At the end of the night, my personal favorite that we started with our kids and I still do today, is watch It’s A Wonderful Life, the old, original, black and white version. It goes right along with the memories thing, and value of friends and family over materialism. It helps me reflect on how it all comes together, good and bad, making life awesome.