Friday, December 25, 2009

Family, Traditions, and Christmas

Christmas is all about family and traditions. Though the details of both may change, their importance in our lives does not; we want and need them both.

For us, family has always had a broad definition. Simply stated, to me, family is defined as those people that I love and that love me. As we all know, those lists are subject to change, sometimes without notice. Today we had a wonderful gathering of family – me, Weber, Erin, Edgar (Erin’s boyfriend), Mike, Jason (Mike’s boyfriend), Brooke, and, via the wonders of AT&T and text messaging, Josh (Brooke’s boyfriend), Adidas and Harley. The makeup of our family has changed over the past year. We have welcomed Weber and Jason.

Since we did not go to church last night because of the weather, we all woke up this morning well rested after having had a good night’s sleep. We began our Christmas morning in our traditional way – opening stockings. We all had a part in filling each other’s stockings with goodies that ranged from the serious to the absurd. Before moving on to the gifts under the tree, we took a break for coffee – against Erin’s wishes. Though she had her seventeenth birthday this week, her inner three year old is nurtured by the excitement of Christmas morning. She was ready to move straight from the stockings to the big gifts, no coffee needed. She was overruled!

As has also become tradition at our house, Erin distributes the gifts from beneath the tree. I’m not sure if this is because she is the most agile and can crawl under the tree to retrieve them or if it is because invariably she seems to have the greatest number of presents and therefore it seems only fair that she should do the doling. And in keeping with another family tradition, books and electronics were the most popular items under the tree this year.

One of our favorite family traditions is the collaborative meals on Christmas day. I must say upfront that I use the term meal here with the same level of broadness with which I defined family earlier. There is always an abundance of food on the table, but it does not always constitute “a meal” as prescribed by the current food pyramid. Suffice it to say that no one went hungry!

Brooke started off the day by making the most amazing VEGAN cinnamon rolls! They were awesome, a treat for all the senses.

I must include here her caveat. “I said they were vegan, not healthy!”

Erin will be the first to tell you that she does not cook. Luckily, those of us around her, including Edgar, can and do cook. So, Erin’s role was to figure out what the rest of us were to cook. Weber smoked a brisket and a turkey (not an easy task in our sub freezing temperatures but he was successful). Mike made several loaves of various kinds of bread. I was responsible for bacon at breakfast and mashed potatoes later in the day. Edgar’s job was to tease Erin about the fact that she doesn’t cook – although she did make scrambled eggs (her signature dish) this afternoon when her eating schedule and our cooking schedule were at odds with one another.

The afternoon was spent playing games. We have become fans of Apples to Apples. This was followed by a game of Scrabble in which Jason, who is from South Africa, lamented the fact that our version of Scrabble only has four U’s. This is a problem with honour, and colour, and favourite, and the Q’s.

Weber is not a fan of our game playing tradition so he and Harley continued a tradition that they started last year.

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2009

We had wonderful family holiday filled with all those things that should accompany such a celebration – fun, laughter, good food, and, most importantly, a lot of love.

I hope that you and your family had a blessed and joyful holiday as well.

Merry Christmas!