Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrating A Traditional Family Christmas

Fr. Dale Matson

We had our “family” Christmas here yesterday because that is when the most relatives could be in one spot at the same time on the same date. Unfortunately there are geographic and vocational limitations to everyone being together, so each subset of our family celebrates additional Christmases elsewhere. There are certain traditions to be honored. Gramps, (that’s me) cajoled and corralled all the loose strays for Grace. We then served ourselves buffet style from the vast array of foods prepared by all the attendees and grandma the hostess. There was still plenty of food for the glucose/lactose intolerant folks. We seem to have more dietary restrictions than the old days. Today you would need a prescription just for the gravy served up in the old days.
Dessert had to wait until the dinner bloat subsided so the next phase of our tradition was opening gifts (keep those receipts!). This is where the kids were overindulged and overwhelmed, once again. Conflicts emerged about who had what toy. They also brought the gifts to everyone else. Uncle Jed AKA Santa showed up and was immediately recognized by a too-smart-for–his-own-good five year old. His younger brother did not catch on as fast and was initially unwilling to take his gift. Meanwhile the Packer/Raider game was being taped for fans on both sides. Who watches commercials anymore anyway? The younger men proudly wore aprons and helped with the dishes. We use less Tupperware and more self-sealing plastic bags for leftovers these days. Some admittedly worked in the kitchen to avoid the hubbub and whirlwind. The moving eye of the tornado was our two grandsons (ages 3 and 5). They count for 10 people since they were like monkeys that had escaped from their cages, running all over the place including the tops of all our furniture. I think they thought the carpet was molten lava so they avoided it as much as possible. They gave our Airedales an extra mile of exercise by chasing them around the living room till the dogs stood by the door, which was their way of pleading for mercy.
 By the time the boys were ready to leave, they were stripped down to only pants because they were so warm from wilding. I also took out my hearing aid since they only have one volume and that is “yelling”.  On top of that, grandma insisted on their presents having batteries to enable each gift to have a distinctive and irritating sound. Their father suggested (threatened) that there was more room at our house for those particular gifts. One gift is a basketball hoop that has flashing lights and crowd noises every time they make a basket. Because their behavior was within acceptable boy limits (just shy of feral), there were no “time outs” assigned to them, so I assigned a couple of time outs to yours truly and closed myself in the computer room. In all, it was great. No one got hurt and nothing was broken.  Grandma was energized by the day’s events and me… not so much.  She was back to gardening today and I was out exchanging a couple of gifts. I hope you saw some of your family in this story too. Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days!

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