Holiday Traditions

December 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
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I realize that nothing lasts forever, and traditions are subject to change without notice, but I like to have some stability in my life.  My personal culture.
When you’re life is in order, these are the kind of Holiday traditions you should have.  Or–these are they kind I would like to have…

Around the beginning of October, we put up the Halloween decorations, including lights.  You don’t put the pumpkins out yet, though.
Some weekend in October, we go to the apple orchard.  Get some cider.  Pick up some pumpkins.  Go on a hayride.
Sometime in October, we go to a haunted house.
There is the fall festival in Old Town Florissant.  I like to go to that.
Closer to Halloween, we carve the pumpkins, and buy the candy.  We try to watch some scary movies that month as well.
Maybe we get invited to a Halloween Party.  We come up with a great couples theme and work on it halfheartedly in our spare time, and then the day before the party we put in several stress-filled hours trying to finish it up.
The party is either before Halloween or Halloween night after trick or treating, so it doesn’t interfere with us giving out candy.  We go to the party, have a good time, meet some different people, and have a few drinks.  We never seem to win the contest.
For trick-or-treaters, we sit in the driveway with a fire pit and a cooler, and chat with people as they come by.  The children I tease, or I quiz them before giving them candy.  I hit on the moms.
We always make sure we have some candy left over for ourselves.

By the next weekend, in November, the Halloween decorations come down.  A few fall and Thanksgiving-themed items go up.  Some day in November is Closet Day, when we pull out the winter coats and other clothes, find the hats and gloves, and arrange the closet so we can use it for the winter.
The week before Thanksgiving is the dreaded Shopping Trip to the grocery store.  List in hand, we buy everything, just like everyone else.  During the week before Thanksgiving, we make stuff–deserts and side dishes and appetizers and things–and put them in the spare refrigerator.  I buy some nice liquor and a few good cigars.  The house gets a good cleaning, and the table and chairs are arranged.
Wednesday night, I go get my daughter and maybe a friend, and maybe some grandkids, and they spend the night, sleeping on the floor.  Thanksgiving morning, we get up and go to the parade.  We bundle up and dress warmly, and get in the van.  I stop at the convenience store, and we get donuts and hot chocolate, and I make them all go to the bathroom.  At the parade, I take some pictures and buy some trinkets for them as we watch.  Once the parade is over, I trek back up to my ex wife’s to drop off the kids, and then come back home.
By then, someone has gone to pick up my fiance’s sister, and my sister shows up as well.  Dinner is almost ready.  We eat and talk and sit around, and maybe play a game.  I take a short nap, and then it’s time for desert.  My sister leaves, and we drive Kim’s sister home.
Back at home, it’s time to eat again, some leftovers–this time with a big bourbon and coke.  We watch a movie and enjoy the quiet time.  Actually–why don’t we go for a walk–at least around the block?  Or drive down to St Ferdinand Park and walk around the lake?  But then later, yeah, we do enjoy the quiet.
The day after Thanksgiving, we don’t–we probably don’t go shopping.  Maybe, unless there’s something we really need to get for someone, in the midst of all the sales.  But we do get out the Christmas decorations, because it’s time.  It is time.  I’m putting up lights on the outside of the house, and a few yard things, while Kim puts up the tree and other things inside.
And we do the holiday thing.
I have a gift exchange at work.  Kim bakes cookies.  We do some shopping, and wrap presents.  We buy little things for friends and co-workers.  We have a Christmas slush fund that we get into, just for this.  Someone, somewhere, is having an adult holiday get-together.  If not, we’ll have one.  Just a cocktail party type of affair, holiday themed.  With appetizers and alcohol.
Some evening we take a nice drive and just look at houses with Christmas lights.
I go to my daughter’s Christmas choir event.  When she grows out of it, I’ll go to my grandkid’s.  If not, I’ll go to one locally, with kids in the neighborhood.  The Christmas pageant is the true meaning of Christmas.
I take my daughter shopping, so she can buy something for her brother and her mother.  I need to find small gifts to give the adults, and then figure out something for the grandkids.
Whenever there is a big office day for food, I bring in my world famous deviled eggs.
Make some calls to some friends and family, and see how they are this holiday season.  Be merry and bright with people I meet.  Sing Christmas carols.
Closer to Christmas, we always have to figure out what the schedule is going to be.  Ideally, for me, it goes like this:
Christmas Eve, we either go to my brother’s or they come up here.  Christmas Day, I spend at home.  I’d like to get up and make a breakfast on Christmas morning.  Later, we do the presents.  I guess we go over to see Kim’s sister, or we bring her over.  Christmas night, mayhaps we go over to Kim’s house.  The Day After Christmas, I go see the kids.
The Christmas Tree stays up through New Years’.  It just does.  That’s how it is.
Sometime over Christmas is a good time to go to the movies.  I also want to go visit some other friends and things–even a short trip out of town.
For New Year’s Eve, we go to either a friend’s house that is having a party, and arrange to stay the night, or go out with friends to a party at a hotel and get a room.  Or stay at home and have a few drinks, and some fancy food.  It’s supposed to be seafood time.  Shrimp, of course.  Some king crab would be nice.  Even that imitation crabmeat, with melted butter, and then other appetizers and finger foods.
We stay up til after midnight, set off fireworks at the appropriate time, then go to bed.
New Years’ Day, we wake up, and find our way home.  It’s a lazy day–eventually we make it to Kim’s house.  That’s what she said.  Casual hang out and Cajun jambalaya.
The first chance AFTER New Year’s is when the decorations come down.

All year ’round, we should always have candles lit…

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