Christmas past and present and presents and presence

I get a little weepy about things on Christmas morning. Weepy in a good way. Actually I get weepy all the time. There’s an oatmeal commercial that brings me to tears. An oatmeal commercial. True story (and off you goooo…) but I digress. 

With an 18 and a 13 year old it’s not exactly the magic of Santa that I’m trying to keep alive – even though their presents don’t show up under the tree until the night before – it’s the magic of all of us being together doing the same things, creating our family stories. Going into NYC on Christmas Eve to be with family, driving back at midnight, waiting a little bit and then sneaking all the gifts down. Waking up on Christmas Day, opening the gifts, going out for Chinese food and then a movie. This year we added to that day and had the best Christmas dinner with friends (onion pie, lasagna and dessert!). I wish I could slomo the day. Or have it on repeat like A Christmas Story on TBS. It’s 11:18 and I don’t want it to be over yet. 

It all goes by too fast, Ferris Beuller was right. I’m trying very hard to stop and look around. But all I see are babies getting big…so I’m just gonna go right back and live in the past for a bit. Just for a second. It’s my gift to myself. 
I hope you all had a very merry weepy holiday too. 









On Not Being a Grownup at Christmas – GUEST POST!

A big thank you to my little bitty sister for this great post! And look at those jazzy handmade stockings. Show off.
stocking
Last week, while lamenting to my colleagues that I had no idea what to get my boyfriend for Christmas, we ended up having a long conversation about the family present exchange. That’s when I realized that, shockingly, I have some pretty strong opinions on the topic. So here is my Family Present Exchange Philosophy
(FPEP):
In our family, Christmas is about the presents. Once I explain, you’ll realize that that wasn’t the saddest sentence ever to grace this blog.
Our family – cousins, aunts, uncles, significant others – gets together all the time. We celebrate every little thing with a big family get-together, and for the most part, it’s great (tis the season to overlook the drama). American holidays, Indian holidays, Hindu holidays, Christian holidays: it’s all fair game. Next year there’s even talk of getting a menorah (we’re equal opportunity around here). And there’s always food, fun, and more food.
But there generally aren’t presents. Indians are all about the benjamins, which is practical and smart, just like we are. That’s why Christmas is so great (here comes my FPEP); to me, unlike gifts of cash, Christmas presents represent the time and thoughtfulness of the giver. I don’t really care if I’m getting another fondue pot or something from the Dollar Store. Cheesy at it sounds, it really is the thought that counts to me. This person went out of her way to think about what I might like, spent hard-earned money on it, and then wrapped it in pretty paper (Here my colleague, the globetrotting poet I share an office with, disagreed. She wished her big Irish Catholic family would just give her money, instead of the “crap I’ll never use” they usually give.)
But it’s not just the stuff. It’s the entire experience. I love opening presents. I love that we all move away from the TV and sit around the tree. I love the anticipation of finding out what’s under the wrapping, and heck, I love the wrapping too. I spend way too much time thinking about how I wrap my presents, and I like giving my family the presents I’ve spent my time making beautiful.
During this conversation at work, another colleague recommended that my boyfriend and I get something for our apartment – a shared gift. He and I had considered this option, but we decided it was far too grown up for us. We wanted the presents, however small and inexpensive, but full of thoughtfulness and love.
tree