Hello, girls! It's Monday! And I am sitting in balmy, warm, snowless central Ohio. Can a girl get some Christmas snow, please??? Yeesh!
Most of the year, balmy weather = yes, please. But from December 15 to the New Year? Monday wants some snow. Please and thank you.
So, I'm at my parents' right now, surrounded by their Christmas decorations (two trees, dozens of nativities, and 213 santas), and it's a bit surreal, because this is the first Christmas I won't be spending at home. We (the boyfriend and I) are doing Christmas with my folks on the 21st because we'll be at his folks on Christmas Eve and Christmas, so I'm building some new traditions.
Up til this year, though, Christmas has always been one of those holidays with long-standing traditions in my family. We always went, all five of us, to get a live Christmas tree from the tree farm down the road. On Christmas Eve, we'd have two candlelight services at church, and between them, we'd open one gift (usually clothes for the service). On Christmas morning, my younger brother and I would get up obscenely early, and be allowed to open our stockings on our own. Then, when my older brother finally dragged himself out of bed, we'd open gifts before breakfast. Then, once lunch was down, we'd all get in the car and head up to grandma and grandpa's. Second Christmas would be on the 26th or 27th, once all the aunts and uncles and cousins had assembled. Constant activities during Christmas in my extended family include an UNO tournament every year in memory of Ethan (Champion 2005, 2007, 2008 - Yours Truly. I must win back my crown), night sledding on BG's one and only hill, and Christmas carols in the living room every night.
But Christmas, for all its traditions, has never been my family's biggest holiday. That is Thanksgiving.
I've briefly touched on my family's Thanksgiving tradition, but I'll go into more depth here. My family makes candy. Specifically, my family makes 209 3/4 pounds of 23 different flavors of hand-dipped chocolates - four kinds of caramel, nine kinds of fudges, seven kinds of creams, three kinds of truffles, and toffee. It takes us most of a week, with six dippers, six cooks, and an ever-moving rotations of cutters, rollers, dishwashers, and gophers. It is an art, and it's one we have down to a science. We've been doing this for four generations, ever since the Great Depression. We make candy for one week of the year, and give it all away as Christmas gifts to teachers and coworkers and friends and family. I've already told my boy: Christmas we can spend with your family. But Thanksgiving will always be spent with mine.
So, yeah. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the big ones. I celebrate Halloween less and less each year, Easter is observed more than celebrated, 4th of July is more about my birthday than the holiday.
I look forward to reading about your holiday traditions, and I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!