BF and I got on the topic of traditions yesterday. Specifically, Christmas family traditions. More specifically, MY Christmas family traditions. I think maybe this wasn't the best idea, as he will probably never come home with me for Christmas now, I've completely freaked him out. Examples:
* Every year, we go to my dad's parents' house on Christmas Eve. I have one aunt on that side, with three cousins within a 5 year range of me and my brother's age. One of these cousins has two kids whose dad is black. My grandfather is from a different day and age, and completely will not accept this... so my cousin is pretty much disowned, the children don't get spoken to by my Paw Paw, and everyone sits there in uncomfortable silence. (BTW, my Paw Paw's actions INFURIATE me, I don't care what things were like when you grew up, they are most definitely not like that today, so adapt and change. It is completely ludicrous that these poor kids have to deal with 50's racism in the 21st century. I could say more, but it would take a while. That's the gist.)
* After we leave my dad's parents', we go to my Mom's mom's house... or actually everyone but me goes (more on that in a minute), where my brother proceeds to get sloshed with my uncles and my mom has two seven and sevens and ends up falling asleep at the kitchen table and my dad just sits there watching the clock, cursing himself for going over there. I, on the other hand, have headed back to my mom's house to wrap every present every male in our family has purchased. Apparently, it's MY job to do this, every year without fail, in the wee hours before we wake up. Complete bullshit. I'm putting my foot down this year. They can use a Wal Mart bag to wrap their gifts in, I don't care, but I'm so not doing it. (See me in the New Year to see if I actually managed to stand up to my 6'3" dad and 6'4" brother).
* After I've pulled my all nighter of wrapping, and my brother's pulled his all nighter of drinking, we wake up at Mom and Dad's on Christmas morning and open presents, then instead of making breakfast we nominate someone to go out and get Waffle House. Funny, it seems like I am always the sucker who gets nominated. This year, I'm putting my foot down. The same foot I put down the night before about wrapping presents. My hungover brother can make the WH run this year.
* After gorging ourselves on the yummy Waffle House food (I always get a patty melt, no mayo no onions and scattered and covered hash browns... great breakfast food), there are usually naps involved, then everyone gets dressed and we go back to my Mom's mom's house for our family gift exchange. I should probably mention that my mom has seven brothers and sisters, I have 13 cousins, and there are 4 great grandchildren. Add in spouses, cousins' significant others or friends, and you've got a recipe for CRAZY on your hands. There are a number of things that have become a standard occurrance at the crazy farm we call my Grandmother's:
* As soon as I get there, I make me a Crown and Sprite from the bar (yes, there's a bar, fully stocked, and it is a complete necessity) in the back living room. I have learned not to make the rounds saying hello without making my drink first, I know I'll need it for the 30 minutes it will take to say hi to everyone, and to help me answer the barrage of questions about when I'm going to get married because you know, tick tock... GRR.
* After I make my rounds, I survey the family to see who seems to already be irritated with someone else. It is a GIVEN that at least one brother and sister will get in a brou-ha-ha, we all expect it, it's just figuring out who's gonna argue that's the tricky part. For the past three years I've actually taken bets and this year I'm going to give odds. Two out of the past three it's been my mom's youngest brother that's been the instigator. I'm going with him this year too. In a family full of Democrats, he's a vocal Republican, and I'm sure he'll have plenty to say during this election year, and with a little Miller Lite in him. (I will say though, this is my Godfather and I really like him, probably the best out of all my aunts and uncles. He's got the same sarcastic humor I do, and I totally appreciate that).
* Now, for the worst part (for me, anyway). My grandmother has a glass nativity scene that she keeps out during the holidays. Only thing is, baby Jesus isn't a part of it. Instead, she keeps him hidden away until Christmas Day, when he was born (duh). It has been a tradition since the oldest grandchild has been able to walk that we line up and carry baby Jesus to the nativity set before we open presents. We, as in, all the cousins. All 13 of us (and now the great grandchildren too). Ok, fine, whatever, like when I was TEN. I am pushing thirty and all the adults THROW A FIT if I say I'm not doing it. The best part... get this. All the adults (all 25 or so of them) stand in the living room around the nativity and sing "Away in a Manger". While taking pictures. And holding sheet music with the words and tune written on it. I seriously didn't realize the weirdness of our tradition until BF looked at me all crazy eyed yesterday when I told him about it. Thinking long and hard about it, IT IS WEIRD. Especially since the youngest cousin is entering high school next year. This, my friends, will be the year I put my foot down. It ain't happening, you may make me still sit at the kids' table but I will not carry baby Jesus to his manger as the chorus of drunken adults sing a Christmas carol. End of story.