So here we are - Christmas Eve. Another year is about to end, which means I have to relearn another set of numbers for the new year. I've just gotten used to it being 2011. A lot of people reflect on different things at this time of year; others simply enjoy being with family and friends for dinner and opening gifts. Being pagan and following Native American spirituality means that I don't celebrate or believe the same as the greater majority of the population; however, I set aside my beliefs for the sake of my family and celebrate along with them.
When I was a kid (and still a Catholic), my favorite part of the entire holiday process was being with my family and friends. Don't get me wrong - the gifts were great (I'm a package shaker and have it down to a fine art), but it was always tremendous fun to go from house to house, eating a little at each place, being with everyone (some people you didn't see except at Christmas), and coming home to a big meal of linguisa and macaroni salad at midnight. This always took place on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning we opened our gifts, and then I helped Grandma prepare Christmas dinner. A shitload of people would descend on our house, and the celebration would go far into the night. Those were great times.
When I was in high school, I added my best friend's family into the mix. They're Italian (I've had the same best friend for 40 years) and began the celebration a day or two before Christmas Eve. It would run until a day or two after Christmas Day with one long party. People would get drunk, pass out under tables, and whoever was the most sober in the morning would make breakfast for everyone. As people came to life, they would begin all over again. I would bounce back and forth between my house and theirs, and I always ate two Christmas dinners. Those were incredible times; I have memories which will last me for the rest of my life and bring a lot of smiles and comfort.
As people in both families began to pass away, the celebrations grew smaller and took less time. When I got married the first time, things had pretty much died down completely. I began having Christmas dinner every year and would do up my house as festively as I could. And so a new tradition was born. I had hoped to pass the torch to my daughter, but you see how that turned out. And all this brings us to this holiday season.
We were going to go to Black Angus this year (which I think I wrote about in my last entry), but at the last minute, my cousin called and asked if we would be willing to come to his house for dinner tonight. I was delighted. It's the first time he's done any such thing, and I know it's because of Grandma. So we're bringing dessert and spending the night, which I think I also wrote about in my last entry. Hubster and I have already opened our gifts to each other - we did that at the stroke of midnight - so we could have our own little celebration. I got him some Rush DVD's he wanted, and he's treating me to a day of pampering at a spa in Brentwood (massage, mani/pedi, facial). We got the kids their first watches, some books, and a few other small things, and I had a beautiful necklace made for Mom. To say that we really feel like celebrating anything toniight would be ludicrous; I would just as soon ignore the entire thing. However, it will be nice to be with Glenn and his family for the evening, and I am looking forward to it.
I'll write about my anniversary trip in my next entry, but for now, I just wanted to say a few things about Christmas. I want to thank all of you for reading what I had to say, for being friends, for sending me all kinds of loving letters, for just being there. You've all been a tremendous source of comfort during my Grandmother's decline and eventual passing. I'm grateful for having all of you.
So I wish you and yours the happiest of Christmases. May you enjoy being with your families; may Santa bring you the gift you wanted most. May your night tonight and your day tomorrow be the best you've ever had.
Until next time - Merry Christmas.