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Ho, Ho, Humbug?

It's not that I don't like the holidays - I do. But for some reason, this year, I'm really having a hard time getting into the spirit. I did most of my shopping from catalogues this year because I get some really fun ones. They allow me to find things that aren't available locally, and I like odd-ball things. Most people on my list already have everything they need or can afford anything they want (at least that I could also afford for them), so unusual things are usually what I look for. I also like sales, and there are a ton of coupons and discounts offered starting early in the season so I don't have to brave the stores for Black Friday, or worry about sites crashing on Cyber Monday.

Our Christmas has changed a lot over the years, too. From when I was a kid, Christmas has always been at "my" house. Over the years it's included a multitude of aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews, and of course, my own family. But also over the years, there has been attrition. My great-grandmother who died at 94, then grandma at 92. With the matriarchs gone, many of the aunts and uncles, and consequently, the nieces and nephews, began staying home to start create their own family Christmas traditions. The last few years my mother and her husband haven't been able to come out due to age issues, and our holiday is now down to the two of us, my oldest son and his wife/kids, and when he can, my youngest son who lives 7 hours away.

I'm not complaining. After decades of late Christmas Eves waiting for everyone to drop off their presents after our kids were in bed and wouldn't see who Santa really was, being up early to get the turkey and home-made cinnamon rolls in the oven, cleaning up after the blizzard of wrapping paper, and preparing and cleaning up after dinner for from a dozen to almost 4 dozen people, I don't mind some peace and quiet.

I do miss the bunch of little kiddies - the looks on their faces when they spied the huge pile of presents filling the living room floor, the pleasure on the elder's faces as they watch the excitement. And then there were the "year of the turkey" x 2. One involving an oven that was turned off and went unnoticed, and another when the family dog found the turkey taking a brine bath and decided to sample a bit. Both of which involved significant amounts of alcohol to overcome.

How about you? What are your Holiday Memories, and how have they changed over the years?


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