During the holidays a lot of us await the usual traditions we’re accustomed too. For myself it might include (but is not limited to) watching the quiet uncle steal away my husband to chatter about conspiracy theories, waiting to see whose toddler bites the dust first, and trying to politely work your way around a toilet that you aren’t sure you can trust. In other people’s homes you just never know. The bathroom can be a resting place or a testing place. When the door handle is jiggly or there’s doesn’t seem to be quite enough water in the toilet bowl, I start to get indecisive. My mantra is: get in and get out. I know what I’m there to do, but when things look sketchy I’d rather avoid the “what if’s” and get back home to my own comfortable surroundings.
I always learn new things around this time. This year it was how to sneak pie. We went to my in-laws on Christmas day and when we walked through the door I tenderly shepherded my children in their general direction so while they rushed their grandparents, I could side step off to the kitchen and eat a small slice of pumpkin pie without being riddled with questions about how I’m doing. I’m doing fine, but after I have some pie I’ll be doing even better. Listen to your grandchildren tell the same jokes over and over again, you’ll love it.
I also learned not to leave a potted plant in a very cold car. It will die. We have a Cousin Christmas every year; it includes a lot of cousins and gives Grandma a chance to see us all together. We also remember our lost loved ones. Not like, lost in the woods, but like, deceased. So I gave Grandma her gift and as she reached into the gift bag and pulled out the plant, it was totally wilted. Dead. The poinsettia had died. It took me a whole 60 seconds to process what had happened. I stared at it in disbelief, while my aunt laughed until she turned red. I had to join her, because we were all a little confused at first, but realized it was a silly accident. My mother-in-law joked that it was quite appropriate and I should’ve told grandma that it was symbolic.
My Christmas season was good. I would say my holiday season was good, but I watch enough BBC that when my brain thinks of the word “holiday” it thinks of the meaning “vacation,” like how English people would use it. However, this time of year can’t be misunderstood as a vacation. On vacation, I’m not staying up late at night making homemade icing for my daughter’s class so they can make gingerbread houses the next day. Below freezing weather isn’t really motivating or screaming vacation mode either. It’s bleak. No one wants a frostbitten nose. Luckily, it warmed up enough to snow beautifully and gave us a white Christmas, it’s a Christmas miracle! Now we can treat the next week like we’re on “holiday” and enjoy the winter fun.
As I write this, it is the end of Christmas day. What’s next? I assume it’ll be a lot of relaxing, catching up on Downton Abbey, reading, enjoying having my little girl home from school, and playing with all the new toys my kids got for Christmas. Let’s be honest, kids toys can be a lot of fun. There’s an inner rule I used when raising my kids and it worked out pretty well: Only introduce TV shows or movies to your kids that you enjoy yourself, and only buy toys you’d love to play with. It sounds selfish, but I’ve seen and heard too many parents get stuck with some show or toy they can’t stand that their kid is obsessed with. Lame! Starting this rule from a fairly young age worked. My daughter loves Pixar, my son loves Dr. Seuss, and I’m happy to play Candyland. My son got an awesome castle tent from his aunt and uncle that we treat like a fort and I’m short enough to fit in there too. Score!
Here’s the thing, whatever holiday you recognize I hope you had a great one. It’s sad to say goodbye to the adorable recitals, delicious gingerbread houses, home made sweet treats, glittery shoes, holiday parties, and dead poinsettias. It’s the time of year most of us enjoy embracing our faith, our family, our friends, and recognize our love for one another. We go from a holiday full of thankfulness, to a holiday that includes giving to others and what we believe in, to the end of the year that brings reflection and unattainable goals (haha). Happy New Years!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.