"Christmas tradition" has been an oxymoron since my sister got married almost seventeen years ago. We started going to her house for Christmas, but then sometimes they were with her husband's family, or they didn't want to travel when we couldn't, so suddenly sometimes we were just three, or with other friends or family members. All of the ways of having Christmas have had their charms, but I do not feel a great sense of tradition anymore when I think of Christmas. Since I got married four years ago, that experience has continued. My husband's work is filled with unpredictable calendar trickery, and I have become accustomed to the fact that one of the things we give up are classic, scheduled holiday itineraries.
This year was no different. Preparing for and executing the move absorbed most of our energy this fall, and it wasn't until I busted through the boxes and came up for air last week, that I finally could focus on locating my inner elf. We had originally been aiming for a quick holiday weekend in Minnesota, but it turned out that my husband was on call for work. Foiled by oil again.
Here is the upside of these holiday snafus though: the craving for orthodox is wearing off, and the non-traditional is feeling more fun. This year, knowing that we would be here cooking a meal regardless of whether or not we were two people or eight, we checked around for other holiday orphans in the area. Turns out there were a few; medical and oil types. We extended an open invitation to them, curious what kind of Christmas Eve celebration would develop. Most of them ended up doing other things. One of the invitees told us that he wasn't sure if he was staying here or going to Mexico. We texted him the day before to check on his availability, and his response was "Thanks, I'm in Norway". Again, tricky for planning, but also intriguing to us that we know someone who thinks he might be headed to Mexico in a day or two, but then is suddenly in Norway instead. For a long weekend. The world is amazing to me. We ended up hosting our new landlord-slash-friend, and it was very nice.
Without really thinking about why, this year I did traditional things that I don't normally: bought a Christmas tree (with no needles) and hung ornaments, put out lights and decorations, roasted a turkey (for my husband and near-strangers), and even went to the mall on the day after Christmas (and ogled professional Texan luxury shopping). It was the most traditional non-traditional holiday ever. I feel tired and relaxed and spoiled and at ease with the world. It's also time to get back to work, in some way or another.