Well, another year of Christmas is over. It increasingly feels like a lot of build-up for a such a brief few moments of paper-tearing, rum ball-eating, and general merriment-making.
This year's holiday seemed quieter than usual. The gatherings were smaller, the presents were fewer, the decorations were less. With family spread far and wide, and most of the kids in the family well grown, we found ourselves alone with my mom and uncle this Christmas Day, with a few cousin visits scattered around to fill in the week.
When I was growing up, there always seemed to be lots of family and noise and activity at Christmastime. This may just be a child's view however - like when you remember your childhood home as huge and yet through your adult eyes it is much smaller than your memory. Because, truly, when I think about it I realize that we rarely, if ever, spent that holiday with my own grandparents, and my siblings were forbidden to attend by their mother (Dad's first wife) due to an acrimonious divorce, and 75% of my cousins were elsewhere as well...so where all the bustle came from I have no idea.
But it was never just four of us before...so, we will either continue to adjust to very small and quiet gatherings - or change up the equation to include different family and friends to gather a critical mass together next year.
I'm already conspiring with a favorite cousin for Thanksgiving 2009 at her house. Her home is bustling with family - and will definitely provide us with the opportunity for more socializing than a group of four surrounding a huge turkey. For Christmas 2009, I started floating the idea of switching our usual plans around. Since it takes some people longer than other (yes you Mom) to consider new plans, it's important to start NOW.
Next, I'll start to tackle the family gift giving activities. We got some awesome gifts this year...but our house is beginning to bust at the seams. And every time I go home, my mom has more and more heirlooms she wants me to have. I love having items of nostalgic value, but I have to make space for these items all the time. I'm hoping to institute some new ideas for next year - like giving people (and receiving) event gift certificates (services, theater, movies, dinner, hotel, B&B) rather than another thing to store or display.
Because really, we have everything we need...and more...and nearly everything we could want too.
So - in 2009, new traditions! new ideas! new budgets! new everything.
Happy New Year (almost)