Christmas will be different this year. My son and daughter-in-law, after much consideration, and realizing that they are grown-ups, decided to stay home all day on Christmas this year. Usually they come to our house all day. They are, however, spending Thanksgiving with us, which they usually spend with her parents. They just decided to mix it up. I certainly don't blame them-I wish I would have had the guts to change how we celebrated our family holiday celebrations when the kids were young. I finally did, and when I invited my mom to my house, she said, "Of course, your kids never get to stay home and play with their stuff, and besides you don't have a tradition yet." What a wise thing to say!
Anyway it will feel weird, but it'll be nice anyway. Maybe there will be a change in how we do Christmas day, too. We are getting older, and at some point the center of the celebration is bound to shift. One other son will be here, and possibly our good friends Wayne and Connie. My sister for sure, and who knows who else will be here-my door is open. Our house isn't that huge, so maybe we can all fit around one table. We'll still miss them but life just has to change sometimes.
We have never spent Christmas day with Stan's family, because back then I had to give equal time to my family. My mom's gone now, and I'm the old person so I foresee that soon we will be the ones packing up the pumpkin pies and taking them to someone else's house. Not yet-there are others in the family that still count on coming here, but there will come a day.
In the meantime, we have Thanksgiving, and that is an affair to remember! We rent a local Senior Center, show up around noon, mash our potatoes, make our gravy, and carve the turkey. The rest show up, usually between 25 and 50, and we dive into the biggest feeding frenzy you have ever seen! Anyone is invited-we have in-laws and outlaws and the occasional stranger at our door, who usually come back the next years simply because it was such a memorable celebration.
There are traditions involved. I have to bring my homemade Almond Roca. I am not allowed into the building without it! My sister-in-law has to make her heavenly popcorn balls, which she started making the first year she was married and couldn't afford a lot of fancy ingredients for fancy desserts. Stan usually makes the rolls-we're probably neck in neck as to who makes the best ones. Understand that most of these people are fabulous cooks, and many of them have made their living doing that.
After dinner and clean-up, we bring out the games and snacks, including the candy and popcorn balls. Along about 6:00 my mother-in-law will wonder if anyone is hungry. Of course not, but we get food anyway. We heat up the gravy and cut the turkey up into it. We serve it over the rolls, with a big slice of onion, a term commonly known in Stan's family as "turkey buns." THEN we eat the pie we were too full to eat earlier, and look over all the Black Friday ads to decide if we will be alert enough to go shopping the next day. I am cooking a 23 pound turkey, and my sister-in-law is doing the same, and my mother-in-law was worrrying that there wouldn't be enough food. I HAD to say it, "Gram, when have we EVER run out of food?"
I love to cook, so I do look forward to the holidays, stocking up on fancy candies and other treats. It's nice to have a plateful of goodies to give to someone at the last minute. It's also nice to be appreciated for what I do. Well, the holidays are almost here, so away we go!!!!!!!