So how was your Christmas? Mine? Oh, pretty good, thanks for asking.
It was my first Christmas not in the frozen tundra. Sure, there was that one year when we went to Florida but we didn't leave until Christmas day so we did the freezing cold/snow thing for the whole run-up to Christmas, allowing me to get in the proper holiday spirit. And yet, this year on Christmas Eve it was in the 70s here. How is a girl supposed to dress for Christmas Eve church under those sort of conditions?
(This girl decided to wear a suit, of all things, because she owns three and has had no occasion to wear one since leaving DC. Which is just a waste of decent clothes and pretty, pretty Italian shoes gotten for free from a co-worker whose aunt brought them back for her and whom they didn't fit.)
Anyway, my sister Lisa and I did the Christmas Eve thing at her church, followed by Chinese delivery with Lisa's roommate Jenny. Who opened a gift comprised of whole box of baking utensils, about which she was actually excited. I, for obvious reasons, received no baking utensils this year. For which we can all be thankful.
Then on Christmas morning, Lisa and I went to my church and then on to our parents' new house here in balmy South Texas. Of course, it is NEVER balmy in my parents' house, so I packed a fleece and warm socks to ward off the "Mom's having hot flashes" chill. We sat down to dinner and I, apparently having narrowly edged out my sister for the "most religious person at the table" title, was chosen to say the blessing. I was hungry, and thus it was brief. The real highlight of the meal was a pumpkin dessert made by my brother, which was apparently one part pumpkin goo, nineteen parts butter.
Then on to the gifts. The role of present-hander-outer was played by my brother whose lust for gifts and impatience for opening them rivals that of any kindergartener you know. We are required to make at least one guess before opening anything, with my sister and I always using "diamond tennis bracelet" as a standard fall-back answer.
So there we were, my brother dividing gifts into piles for evenness of distribution, my dad loudly and regularly reminding everyone that the largest gift was for him (it was a grill, which he knew full well) and two of us repeating the phrase "diamond tennis bracelet" every time another box came our way. No diamond tennis bracelets this year, but I did receive some sweatpants for wearing to the pool that were wrapped in the box for a heating pad endorsed by George Burns. My mother never gets rid of anything. Ever. For any reason.
Which, thankfully, includes receipts. Not that I was thinking of returning anything...
Once the presents were opened, wrapping paper cleared, and the grill and my new copier/printer/scanner/fax converted to footstools for my dad and I, the Packer game was turned on. Which brought no holiday joy to anyone except my traitorous brother who turned Bear fan back in the 80s. Not that he didn't pay for that decision later in many years of the Bears sucking. And then he moved to Baltimore a few years ago and became a Ravens fan. Good move, Dan. Excellent timing.
Finally the Trivial Pursuit game was produced. The Trivial Pursuit battle of the sexes grudge match is a big geeky tradition in our family. We women, tragically short on baseball knowledge, lucked out with a fashion question on the sports & leisure category and narrowly defeated the men. To be fair, there were four of us (Lisa, Mom, me, and my sister-in-law Dawn) versus just the two of them. But this is more equal than you might think since my dad knows almost everything. Too bad for him that the "freakish ability to memorize random and useless facts" gene was passed down to both of his daughters.
I managed to leave without any leftovers, a feat in and of itself. And that, folks, is an exciting peek inside a glamorous holiday with my family. God, family, and the Green Bay Packers, in the immortal words of Coach Lombardi. Who, incidentally, also never bought me a diamond tennis bracelet.