Written December 15…
We had the news on this morning, and our local meteorologist said that there was about a 50% chance that there will be snow on the ground for Christmas this year. From what I gather around here, that’s a higher than usual probability than usual for this part of Ohio. While they may celebrate that chance, I slink back in my chair at the prospect of a Brown Christmas.
I have my reasons. First and foremost, this will be our girl’s first Christmas, and you want it to be grand. Yes, I know she’ll never remember any of it, but we will. Especially since, as first time parents, we will take millions of pictures. Right now our lawn looks splotchy depending our where Quinton decides to fertilize each day. A nice layer of snow will take care of that.
The other reason a brown Christmas saddens me is because I’m already a little sad for Christmas. You see, this is the first Christmas that we won’t be back home with our immediate family. 32 years of krumkakes, Christmas wreaths and fudge. No 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” with Mom, or plowing out the driveway with my Dad. No video game marathons with my brother (you’d think I was talking about when we were teenagers…but no).
My Christmas tradition has changed in the past. When we were younger, we would travel up to Mom’s folks for Thanksgiving/Christmas, and my dad’s folks for Christmas. This continued until weather and work became an issue. My mom worked at Younkers, which meant s he got to help the people who waited until the hour before they closed on Christmas Eve to shop, and the people returning those thoughtfully picked out gifts the day after. So we stayed home for Christmas, and was nice because it was the one day Mom didn’t have to deal with Christmas shoppers.
The next change was when I was dating Steph, and I was invited to her family’s Christmas. It fit in perfectly. My family celebrated and opened gifts on Christmas, and her family did it all on Christmas Eve. With her dad’s birthday also being Christmas Eve, our Christmas routine fell into this pattern, birthday, gifts, dinner, rest of the gifts, church, Santa, sleep, church, gifts, lunch, Santa, drive to extended family, gifts, trip to family store for this year’s Hallmark Ornament, home. It seems like a lot, but can you really get too much Christmas (my tummy is nodding).
I’ll miss her family’s Christmas as much as my family’s Christmas. The Christmas cookies, the skiing snowman that irritates Quinton, the Christmas carols around the piano, her dad taking too many pictures (and yet not enough), her mom’s choir at the Christmas Eve service, playing pool with her brother, and Santa always remembers to bring the coolest gift (a Nerf disc launcher that your shoot darts at, awesome!)
When I (then we) moved to Omaha, we still came back for Christmas. Even out east here (yes, I consider Ohio east, not Midwest. I’d consider calling it the middle east, but…) we still managed to make it back for Christmas. Heck, the trip is just as much of the memory as anything else. Remember the Christmas we got stuck on I-80? Remember last year when we left Ohio at 40 degrees/no snow only to reach Iowa with -5 degrees and 12 inches of snow? Ah memories…
This Christmas will be different, it will have lost some of the great things from Christmas past, but it still has so many of the things that make it great. First, it’s still the birth of Jesus, which can be celebrated anywhere with anyone with the same joy. I still have Steph with me, and our families are but just a phone call away. We’ve got Buble and Peanuts on CD, and Elf or Christmas Vacation on DVD.
Now we can add some new traditions to our Christmas. We’re going to visit relatives in Cincinnati. We’ll open our gifts to each other around Christmas this year, as opposed to some random weekend in December. The most exciting part, is that we get to share this holiday with our new girl. I look forward to the day when Santa fills her stocking, the year where I feign ignorance when she asks me what Ralphie really said when he said “Oh fudge!”, the snow angels in the yard (sigh, mud angels), and hot chocolate.