Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Holiday fun

I could really identify with Merry, the heroine in Molly's fabulous Christmas story in the anthology THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS with Brenda Novak and Day Leclaire. At the start of the story she's less than merry about the upcoming holiday, in fact in the opening lines she describes herself as being attacked by Christmas as she gets choked by a drooping garland and tackled by a blow up santa. Hilarious, but also shows the character's irritation. An irritation that's really not about Christmas, but about something else all together.

And that's the way it is for me, too. Although not the same reasons as Molly's heroine. For me it's all about dealing with change, coping with the realization that the holiday will never again be like the Christmases I remember. Not like the awesome magical holidays I had as a child, with tons of white fluffy snow in Montreal and Winnipeg. Not like the crazy-fun Boxing Day gatherings with my cousins when we were teenagers in Toronto -- there were 10 of us all fairly close in age. (Yes, Spoons and Pounce and broken fingers were involved.) But I think the Christmases I'll miss most were the ones where my siblings and I were young adults, but all still single, and it was just the four of us and our folks, and maybe a few aunties, getting drunk and paying games. One year we invented a game called The Grand Toss. I can't remember all the details except it involved both throwing darts, retrieving objects from the bottom of the pool and a lot of drinking. My brother (who just turned 40), was likely underage at the time... His big sisters were so corrupting.

And don't even get me started about the "guess that water animal" game we played one year. I think you had to be there to fully appreciate it. But let's just say one of my (slim) sisters was very upset when we all guessed walrus at her baby seal imitation.

Now there's another generation below us in the family, and when our generation has more than a couple drinks we just want to sleep. And this year will be the first since my parents moved out of the house they were in for nearly 35 years and the site of the crazy invented games.

But I'm sure we'll find some new traditions to carry us through, even if they're slightly tamer and involve more naps.

How about you? Are the holidays getting better all the time, or starting to fade?


Eileen said...

I think the holidays are becoming fun for me after years of just being a burden. One of my favorite Christmases was spent at my aunt's house. We're Jewish. Their next door neighbors were Greek Orthodox. We all got together on Christmas for an Un-Christmas Dinner. Afterward, there was a lot of singing of Christmas carols. It was a blast.

A couple of years ago, my sweetheart and my mom joined forces and gave me an Autoharp for my birthday. Now we've started doing family singalongs. It reminds me of that night where there were no presents, no stress, just a lot of food and wine and good will.

Sinead M said...

I like that for us, holidays have become all about the kids. Love seeing their pure glee about something as simple as an advent calender.
To be honest, looking forward to the time when we have more time to really put into decorating the house, making Christmas cookies with the kids, drinking wine, leisurely.
Perhaps in a couple of years, Christmas won't feel like such work.

Alli said...

Everything Sinead said! :-) And of course moving back to where all our family are next year - including the kid's cousins to start their own tradition.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Christmas around a pool would be so fun! I love your family games - the names are so literal...still waiting for that pounce description.

I have to admit I'm very into the spirit right now. I think I'm going to bake cookies. Crazy. Or maybe being with my mother for five consecutive days is going to my brain.

J.K. Coi said...

I made a point last year to really pare down the "projects" I take on for Christmas and the gifts I buy. Besides my direct family, now we just bake lots of treats and give them to our friends instead of buying things.

It's made the season feel so much lighter and more enjoyable. I don't have the stress about it that I used to.

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