This is only the second year for as far back as I can remember that I haven’t woke up on Christmas morning at my mom’s house. The first time was two years ago and it happened on accident. During a grad school break, I decided to fly East and visit with my family for a week before Christmas. But that was the year that Portland and Seattle got SO MUCH snow. When I went to check for my flight home on December 22nd, the desk attendant told me that there were no available flights until December 26th. So my mom and little sisters were bummed, but at least I was with family and not stranded at the airport. And they knew I would be home eventually, even if it was a little later than planned.
This year, though, we all knew I wouldn’t be there. And that I probably wouldn’t be able to visit for some time. I mailed my gifts home to my sisters and niece. And my mom mailed my stocking plus gifts to me. We made it work. It was different for me, and probably different for them too, but I think we all had a lovely Christmas.
Christmas celebrations started on Christmas Eve for us. Derek, Aunty Sharon, Uncle Bryan and I bundled into the car and drove to South Windsor where my grandparents live. We made a quick stop at the nursing home where my great grandmother lives to bring her some of the cookies I baked and wish her a Merry Christmas. Grammy and her roommate both have a wicked sweet tooth so they happily took in the cookies and they seemed to be in good spirits.
We had a little extra time so Aunty Sharon and I picked up a few items at Dress Barn (I needed new clothes for my new job :)) and then we headed to my grandparents house. Grandma had 19 people over (all family- cousins, Aunts, Uncles, etc.). As I’ve come to expect from the women in my family, there was way too much food. Like 18 different types of appetizers or something crazy like that. But, surprisingly, much of was eaten. There was gift exchange; I enjoyed watching the little kids open their presents. I received a few nice things, including a nifty kitchen appliance that has different plates to cook a variety of food (will come in handy once I get my own apartment). I love being around my family, especially when we have big get-togethers, so I thought Christmas Eve was perfect.
After a few hours at my grandparent’s house, we came back to Woodstock and Uncle B’s kids (Jackie and Jon) and their significant others came too. We drank Gluhwein and ate more food and played games. It was fun, but I was tired. We ended up staying up past midnight and at that point Aunty S decided she couldn’t wait any longer for Derek and I to open our stockings. She did an awesome job with both of our gifts (we got Dexter seasons 3 and 4!) and after many thank-you’s we all finally went to bed.
On Christmas Day we went to Uncle B’s brother’s house. There was more food and more wine and more game playing. I really enjoying meeting and talking with Uncle’s nephew and his wife. They are a few years older and both went to school in Boston so they had some good advice for me as I start looking for places to live near my work. We left around 7, but we were all so tired it felt like 11.
And yesterday my Aunt’s good friend and co-worker came over with her fiance and dog (who is Reny’s best friend) and we ate more food while watching the Patriots game. There was seriously too much food- my Aunt loves hosting so sometimes she gets a little out of control when planning the menu. But it was a good time. The blizzard started around noon, so I watched the snow fall. I wasn’t too concerned about getting to work because I know that they take better care of the roads on the East Coast than Seattle, but I was a little relieved when my boss emailed me and asked me to wait until Tuesday to start. I was mostly worried about under-estimating the amount of time it would take to get there and ending up late for my first day.
Derek and I played Whoville-opoly (the grinch version of Monopoly) and I lost twice. I’m never playing that game with him again. We settled in with some Dexter episodes and had a low-key evening, which we’ll probably do again tonight.
The long Christmas weekend was everything I needed, minus my family back West. I had a wonderful time with my extended family but I’m hoping that I have the option of being in Washington for Christmas next year.
Know that you’re all loved and missed,