Christmas Eve greetings from Texas, Readers! After spending the week in Los Angeles with the Beau (more on that later), we arrived in Austin a mere 24 hours ahead of Santa (as I type, the jolly man is making his way toward the Prince Edward Islands). This morning, I awoke to the Jackson 5 singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and thought, YES. This is Christmas, folks. Family, fun, food-- 'tis the season.
Being married, bicoastal, and from families that live thousands of miles apart, our holidays involve lots of travel. We go to great lengths (literally) to see everyone. I'll admit that when we first got married, I dreaded the idea of splitting holidays. I'm extremely close to my family, and the idea of not going to church with them on Christmas Eve brought tears to my eyes. What I didn't realize was how much fun it would be to learn about my new family's traditions, sitting around the kitchen telling stories of holidays past. For example, last night my mother-in-law told us about receiving sweet little coupon books from her children for Christmas. "Good for one floor scrubbing!", etc. Unlike his sister Cheyenne's coupons, Miles' coupons had expiration dates. Like January 15th. Offer good for a limited time only, Mom! What a devious little sucker. (I tell you, I fear for our offspring. They will be evil geniuses.)
Since Thanksgiving was so early this year, I was home to help decorate the Christmas tree-- something I've rarely been around to do since I went away to boarding school (we are not day-after-Thanksgiving decorators. Oh no. My mother needs a recovery period between holidays). My dad and I put the lights on, my mom and I hung the ornaments, and the animals tried to undo our hard work. What I love about my parents' tree is that from a few feet back, it looks quite spectacular, but when you get up close, you see that the ornaments range from the childish and homemade to the glittery and fancy. Each one, however, is special, from the 25-cent ornaments from Woolworth's that my parents hung on their first tree in Charleston to the glittery birds that belonged to my grandmother.
Take these ornaments, for example. Someone cross stitched the top three for my parents when my sister was a baby, and they have hung on every Holmes tree since. Somewhere around 1989, I decided I could no longer stand being LEFT OUT OF THE EMBROIDERED ORNAMENT CLUB, and taught myself how to cross stitch so I could right this wrong that had been done unto me four years before I was born (do you see why I fear for our offspring??). How dare they have ornaments that celebrate life before ME? Apparently I was confused about the dates, though, because I thought 1979 was my sister's birth year (it's not, but do you think that I did the math? No, I was too busy getting my Christmas revenge). Hence, RACHEL HOLMES 4-27-82. (TAKE THAT.). Now you know my birthday; I accept checks and Amazon gift cards. We always hang them in a group and have good laugh.
So, whatever your traditions may be, I hope that your holidays are filled with family, love, and laughter. I'm signing off to go to the Christmas Eve services with my family (in Texas, we go in the afternoon and eat tamales afterwards. In South Carolina, we go at night and eat oysters afterwards. See?? How lucky am I?). But I wish you good tidings of great joy, readers-- and coal-free stockings.