I decided to work for a school district instead of somewhere else because of the idea that I could have not one, but TWO, weeks off every winter. Two whole weeks of no work! No waking up at an ungodly hour! No obnoxious phone calls! And most importantly, no long and boring meetings!
When I was single, I spent most of this time sleeping in and being incredibly unproductive. Now that I am married and a parent, I don't sleep as much, but our inviolate rule of what has come to be called Winter Break(as opposed to the former "guaranteed to start a big, useless, argument" Christmas Vacation) is that we do what we feel like doing, as much as possible. If this means hanging out in our jammies and playing video games all day long, eating junk food and ignoring our vegetables, so be it.
Oh, we don't ignore the important things, like attending services on Christmas Eve, or spending time with our families. Although my family is not what you call "touchy-feely", we do try to spend time together. We usually exchange gifts with my parents, my mother-in-law and my brother's family on Christmas Eve, right after church. We also gather together at some point on Christmas day, to feast and laugh and watch some form of sports.
The three of us, however, have created our own traditions. Kids make it impossible not to have traditions, since they demand that everything be done just like it was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. We want to avoid the meltdowns, so Larry and I tend to give in to our little one at this time of the year, in the name of tradition. Besides, we like them as well.
One of our traditions over the holiday break is to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy each year. The extended cuts, not the silly ones that were shown in the theater are viewed, because we are hardcore about our movie watching. This year we also included The Hobbit movies, and we wandered down to our local theater to see the last installment. Our movie viewing is immediately followed by the "Obscure questions about Tolkien's works that only my husband can answer" portion of the evening. My son peppers his father with questions about the characters, and my husband loves it. I pepper Larry with questions regarding Tolkien's issues with women, and my husband doesn't love it as much, but he is at least patient.
Another tradition? After my son has gone to bed on Christmas Eve, Larry and I watch Die Hard together while we finish setting things up for the morning. We share some wine as John McClane smacks some terrorists around and trades one liners with Hans Gruber. It is a defense mechanism; by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, we are extremely tired of the whole commercialized aspect of Christmas. We need a break, and Die Hard provides such, with explosions and bullets and bad guys getting their comeuppance.
A third tradition is breakfast on Christmas morning. The heavenly scent of cinnamon rolls wafts through the house at the crack of dawn, soon after we wake up. The frenzy of opening gifts builds up an appetite, but we certainly do
not want to ruin Christmas dinner by filling our bellies too early. Cinnamon rolls seem to fit the bill, and I usually make plenty, so that there's a couple of rolls left over for snacking in between breakfast and lunch.
What sort of holiday traditions do you and your family have? And while I'm at it, I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter and lots of goodness, whatever your traditions may be.