Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday traditions

I'm not sure this year's holidays will feel right. My parents have their moving date into the condo, a little over a week away. I don't think they'll be doing much Christmas decorating as we won't be here to celebrate it.

Our holidays usually start with my brother flying in for this past week, and us basically hanging out all week. Then there's the annual shopping trip at HyVee on Wednesday, and my brother staying up to flip the turkey in the brine bucket on Wednesday night. On Thanksgiving, we start early with preparing, sometime during they day, they call me and ask me to pre heat my oven at some temperature for the twice baked potatoes, and then when everything's ready and downstairs we eat. Afterwards, we generally just hang out watching TV, and then Thanksgiving night we watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles, when most of us fall asleep in the middle of it, waking up at the end to go to our respective beds.
Black Friday starts at about 10AM or so, when we start pulling out the Christmas decorations. We always get the 3-foot tree out to decorate with mostly Santa's my mother has collected, there are a few ornaments that have been on our trees for years including the ceramic treasure chest that I have no idea what the meaning is, and the two paper bells with my brother's and my pictures in them.
We'll probably pull out the stockings and stocking holders to stick on the antique mantle above the marble fireplace, so we can start filling those up.
There's always a few favorite Santa's that come out every year, such as the 3-foot one mom ties to one of the mantle columns and the New Orleans one dad and I picked out for her one year and sent it back. There's also the two wooden Rudolph's someone made for my brother and I that sit in front of the fireplace.
Then my brother flies back to his home sometime on Friday afternoon.
Somewhere in between Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas, me and mom will pull out the other required decorations for the house. Such as the lighted garland for the front porch. Once upon a time, my dad, my brother and I would hang the multi-colored lights up and down every column, all across the top of the porch and across the railings on the bottom. But, after years of having the tiny little plastic hooks break from the bitter cold Iowa weather, we switched to pre-lit garland along the railing with big red bows at the columns.
There's also the garland to go on the staircase with tiny gold bows tied around the posts, plus some for the top of the French doors so everything matches in the entryway.
 Sometimes we'll dig out the 3-foot tree that holds the brass houses. I'm not sure when, but some year, my mom bought all these tiny brass houses that are all different styles of houses and they congregate on a tree on the bench in entryway.
Last year, I tried to convince her to bring out all 500+ Santa's she has so she could figure out which ones she wanted to get rid of to be ready for their move into the condo. We got quite a few out, but not all of them, and she told me she couldn't get rid of any.

The week of Christmas, my brother will fly in with his girlfriend (new tradition lately), and they'll help with meals and getting the last few presents under the tree and balancing the last few stocking stuffers on top of overflowing stockings.
Christmas morning was me being up wickedly early, because no matter how old I am (or where I am, a few years I went home with my ex for Christmas), I never can sleep on Christmas Eve. So, I'll come down early, where my mother will already be up putting caramel rolls in the oven. I will start sorting out presents and deciding who's sitting where in the living room, and wait in anticipation as the rest of the crew gets up for the day.
After everything's opened, there's generally a little clean-up of wrapping paper, and sorting things into boxes to cart up to separate rooms, then my brother will start cooking lunch.

We don't do much after that, mostly hanging out watching movies or playing with toys. Sometime before the 31st, my brother and his girlfriend will fly back home, and the holidays will be over.

This year, we're going to Charleston, SC for Christmas. I have a few snowmen/Christmas decorations out, but I did get rid of quite a few in our garage sales this past summer. I also have less surfaces to decorate them with, and I've never been excited to take off all my regular decorations to bring out the snowmen. I will probably bring out my ceramic Christmas tree (you know the ones with brightly colored plastic pieces in holes cut into it with a lightbulb underneath), kinda like my grandparents had when I was younger. I'm a little wary of the wires underneath, so I won't plug it in, but I might hang a few more snowmen on it.
My parents probably won't get much out, as I said they will be moving into their condo soon, and with us going away, it's probably more work than it's worth to bring out decorations.

The end of an era has arrived. I guess it will be fun to see how we make new traditions next year in their condo

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