“Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with lots of nuts!”
As we head into the home stretch before Christmas Eve’s traditional gathering together of families everywhere, we ought to pause a moment to prepare ourselves to deal with the chaos ahead.
I come from a very large family of ten children. My husband comes from a family of eleven children. We both have amazing families and we wouldn’t trade them for the world. We love them completely. And there is nowhere we would rather be during the holidays then with our families. And I would imagine that most of you feel that same way too.
That being said, there is no question that when families come together there is bound to be a little chaos, drama, and crazy town to deal with and thinking about that part of the holiday can cause people to feel serious anxiety.
This year we spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s family and we will be spending Christmas with my family. The best way I can describe my family is to say that my family puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional”. Sure everyone has their quirks and their issues, what family doesn’t, but getting together is always an adventure and it is never boring.
Every Christmas Eve our traditions begin. My dad, who is the serious one in the family and the former FBI agent, tries to get everyone to calm down and listen. The funny thing is that the man has been trying to do that for over 50 years now without success, yet he continues to try every year after year to no avail. And the best part is that the harder he tries the more obnoxious and loud everyone gets. (Why is it that when you and your siblings get together with your parents as adults you seem to digress immediately into teenager state of rebelling and pushing your parents buttons again?). We start the night with a talent show for the grandkids to share their latest talent with everyone. Talents have ranged from the truly impressive to the most crazy silly you can imagine. A favorite was when one grandchild did her own interpretive dance of the literal dying of a rose – trying not to bust out laughing was a massive challenge for the adults that night.
After the talent show my mother reads the Christmas Story from the Bible and the little kids act it out as she reads. I think my favorite memory of this was when one of the little grandchildren playing the part of Mary hid a doll in her pajamas and when the part of the story came to the baby being born she literally dropped it from under her pajamas onto the floor as if she had just given birth. Of course all of us adults completely lost it at that point and my mother sat back acting shocked that her children were misbehaving so, as if she expected so much more from us….again, you would think after all these years she would know better than to expect us to behave, but if she is she does she is not about to admit to it.
After the narration is over it is time for Dad to don his Santa hat and read Twas the Night Before Christmas story. My favorite memory of this was the year we couldn’t find the normal Santa Hat so I had to go grab my hot pink Santa Hat that I bought at Victoria Secret (don’t judge) so he could have a Santa hat on while reading the story to the kids. Seeing this former FBI man in his hot pink glittery Santa Hat reading the story was truly priceless…a gift unto itself.
Finally we take turns choosing Christmas carols to sing together, which always end up going from jingle bells to batman smells almost instantly until we have literally butchered most every song we sang. But we always end the night with singing the song Silent Night and for that one single song we actually act like normal people and sing it with the respect it deserves.
Yes, my family is “nuts” but there is sweet thrown in there too, and I wouldn’t change them for the world, because they are my family and family is forever.
So when things go crazy with your own families this Christmas, try to remember the good times from the past and the laughter you have shared. This Christmas week is about making memories together, and even though they may cause you to be miserable right now, someday you will sit back and laugh about them and treasure them….sure you may be laughing from a looney bin, but at least you will be laughing, right?!
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