Let me walk you through our first Christmas as parents. (Mom, you may want to stop reading here...)
It all begins Christmas Eve, which is when my husband's family celebrates. They go to church and then go back to his parent's house and eat, eat, eat. They are french, so meat pie is a huge deal. After everyone has their fill, and most of the mess is cleared away, Pepere' takes out his guitar and we pass around song books and sing Christmas carols. After that, Pepere' plays Santa and huddled underneath the tree calling out names. Like I said, they are french, so there are, like, MILLIONS of them. Then the scramble begins. Paper flying, and kids squealing. Cameras flashing and hugs all around. The board games come out for the adults and the kids play with their new toys. Usually it's around midnight before the first people start heading home to do the "Santa" thing at their own houses. It's around 2:00a.m. before this gal is snoring.
The next morning, we hauled Asia out of bed at 5:45 so we could fly through our own gifts. With paper still all over the living room and none of us really sure what we got from each other, we're flying out the door to go to my parent's house, who traditionally celebrate Christmas morning, and then have an early (2:00p.m.) Christmas dinner. We open presents again over there, and enjoy dinner with my brothers and Aunt, cousins, second cousins and my grandparents. Another full house.
From there, we are back at Leon's parent's for their 5:00 Christmas dinner. We stay until midnight again.
And head home to walk into a house that looked like a tornado had blown through. The daunting task of cleaning up our own pithy little Christmas at home begins.
I vowed, right there and then, NEVER to do that again.
We now spend Christmas Eve with Leon's family, because that is the big part of their traditional Christmas gathering. The board games don't come out anymore, because of the fights they would cause, and while there are still carols before gift opening, someone else plays Santa now, because Leon's Dad just can't do it anymore.
And we spend the afternoon at my parent's, because that is when they celebrate. We do the "Santa Run" a couple of days before Christmas, where, usually my parents run around to everyone's homes to do the gift exchanges so everyone has their own stuff at their own houses for Christmas morning. My Gramma's gravy is a huge part of Christmas dinner for me. After that, we get to go back to our own house to finish our night.
And now we have our own Christmas at home. Mama makes a nice breakfast of eggs and bacon and french toast and pancakes, while Papa puts toys together and finds batteries. There is usually a nap at some point in the late morning. For the parents!!
Leon is now a firefighter. Last year he had to work all of Christmas Day, so we had to open our gifts the night before. That REALLY sucked. This year, he works Christmas Eve, so we will open gifts when he gets home Christmas morning, and then he'll go to bed, and I'll make breakfast and try my best to put toys together. This also means that I will be doing the Christmas Eve deal with church, his family, and Santa all. by. myself.
The main changes that were made to our Christmas did, in fact, enable us to create some of our own traditions. Christmas Eve, instead of going to church with Leon's family, we go to our church, where the drama club puts on a huge play. And because we can be home now Christmas morning, the breakfast is another. In time, we will create more. But that will do for now.
Go see Candid Carrie for more links to family traditions! She's having a great contest, you know! Just post about a family tradition, then link back to her and add your name and post link to Mr. Linky!! (Wow, I said 'link' a lot in that paragraph!!)
Have a great weekend!