The holidays make me wish I was 5 again. This could be because, in my Mom’s eyes, we still are 5. The woman puts a lot of stock in tradition, and she has a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that my brother and I are 19 and 25 years old respectively. I’m not complaining. I’m a sucker for decorating the tree and making Christmas cookies, but sometimes it gets awkward. For example, I believed in Santa for longer than the vast majority of my peers. All the other kids in my class would be like, “Santa is not real.” Of course, I would agree with them so I would look cool, but in my mind I was like, “IDIOTS. Jokes on you people, Santa is totally real. Who else but elves could put this kind of craftsmanship into TY beanie babies?” I think it was 5th grade when I had to come to terms with the fact that maybe something was up. Santa’s handwriting looked an awful lot like Mom’s. Not to mention I was learning about gravity, and time zones, and science, and stuff. Now my brother and I play along with her as best we can. We put out cookies for Santa (Mom) and Rudolph (Still Mom.) And we pretend to be really surprised to find them gone the next morning. The crumbs are a convincing touch. It’s fun to act like a kid for the holidays.
Our Christmas morning traditions have remained pretty consistent. Early Christmas morning, before presents, we gather around the manger (the same manger my Dad made in his
garage “workshop” over 20 years ago) and sing happy birthday to Jesus. (I’m not kidding.) Each of us then reads a paragraph from the Nativity story. I have to stifle laughter when it’s Dad’s turn to read. Picture Dad in his robe with no coffee in his system yet trying to read without his reading glasses. Never gets old.
When it’s time to open presents, my brother and I assume our positions as “present-passer-outers” -a phrase we coined years ago. My brother does not take this role too seriously. He gets distracted when the first present he picks up is for himself, and consequently forgoes his present distributing duties for the remainder of Christmas morning. Mom never opens any of her presents because she is taking pictures of us opening up every. single. present. Once all of the presents and stockings are opened we get to my favorite part of the morning: the Breakfast FEAST.
While we’re on the subject of Holiday traditions, I would like to speak about my Mom’s interior design skills that really shine throughout the Holiday season. To be frank, our house looks like it was decorated by a bunch of kindergartners. This is because, in fact, it is. Every decoration my brother and I ever created is brought out of the vault and put on display. Mom doesn’t throw anything away. She cannot bear to part with our little glitter and macaroni covered faces.
I wouldn’t trade these traditions for anything, and I can’t wait to get back home for Christmas to spend it with the family I love the most. Happy Holidays everyone!