Thursday, December 24, 2015


My and Tom’s first Christmas (Grammar Tangent: Please notice that I did NOT write “Tom and I’s first Christmas…because, yeah, that’s just stupid and REALLY incorrect…ahem) together we weren’t sure what was going on.

His older kids, J, J, and D (we need names here, don’t we? Non-googleable names, since who knows if those guys want me writing about them…alas, I’m doing it anyway but I will do so without using their real names. So henceforth, Tom’s oldest son will be Josh, his oldest daughter will be Jennifer and his younger son will be Devlin) were 18, 15 and 14. They were great kids but they were also used to very specific things from their dad.

They spent Christmas Eve with us and then went back to their mom’s house around noon on Christmas day for the rest of the Christmas break.

That first Christmas Eve we got pizza and watched movies on Christmas Eve and exchanged presents the next morning and basically had a very nice time. As Josh, Jen, and Devlin got older, they stopped spending the night on Christmas Eve but they did still come over for pizza and gifts.

These days, both Josh and Devlin have added their own wives and kids to the mix and so everyone is that much busier.

But Lyss and Liv have gotten used to the idea of pizza on Christmas Eve and so that’s what we do. It’s nice to not have to worry about what to make for dinner.

Once the girls were old enough, I incorporated a tradition from my own childhood into our Christmas Eve schedule. A and O get to open one present on Christmas Eve. Sadly for them, they don’t get to pick which gift. They have to open the one I have chosen. By this point, they always know they’re getting Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve but the knowing doesn’t take away from the fun of opening the present and getting to put on fresh new jammies.

This year none of the older kids are coming on Christmas Eve but we will have pizza (I’m getting hot and sour soup from our local Great Wall restaurant because…yum!) and the girls will get their jams.

Then on Christmas day we’ll drive the three miles to my mom’s house to exchange more gifts, eat more food and spend time together. Tom will drive separately from me and the girls because we like to stay longer then he does and when you’re only driving three miles, it’s not hard to justify taking two vehicles.

In the years since Josh and Devlin married and had kids we’ve tried to work with their schedules to see them at some point in the holiday season. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Having all these branches of families makes scheduling hard.

But this year, Josh’s wife, Kim got in touch with me and we figured it out. The day after Christmas, Tom and I will load up the car with gifts, throw Lyss and Liv in there too and head an hour or so south to see Josh, Kim and Devlin and all their assorted kids. We don’t see them nearly often enough so we’re always willing to adjust our schedules to meet theirs. This was one of those years where the stars have aligned and once again, we acknowledge that we’re a lucky, lucky bunch.

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