The stockings were hung by the tv (its swfl, we don't really have chimneys) with care, we were all snuggled in our beds, with visions of waking up without hangovers in our heads. Christmas this year reminded me yet again why mine is a wonderful life. This year I stayed south to avoid the blizzard like conditions the yanks have been experiencing as of late. I was invited over to a friend's house to celebrate the holiday and quickly accepted the invitation after learning that their Irish lineage was not taken lightly and that Christmas Eve would be much like the Christmas Eve of my developmental years.
Over the years I've learned that its quite a gamble to partake in other family's Holiday celebrations. Several years ago we got the call that Christmas was canceled due to a snow storm that blew in just two days before Christmas. This left The Gray Lining and I over an hour from my parents house with no plans for the holiday. This was the first time I accepted an invite from a friend, and what I swore would be my last. It may not seem that terrible, but being stuck in a snow storm with the an friend's extended family watching home movies for 6 hours was far from the Christmas I knew and loved...our kind of Christmas meant beer stayed cold outside on the porch, pool games were played, at least one person went to midnight mass with a buzz, and undoubtedly my dad (this only happens once a year) got poop faced and reminded me that the ability to drunkenly ramble about topics no normal person discusses was in fact hereditary.
Since that time I have went back on my pledge to avoid spending Christmas with another family out of lack of other options, always thinking that this time around it would be fantastic. Sometimes I despise my optimistic "the glass is half full of egg nog" attitude. After my last optimistic Christmas attempt (The year I call "A Very Jewish Christmas") you would think I would have turned down the invite as quickly as it was delivered, but alas I did not and for once it worked. Thank you to my adoptive family this Christmas, for making sure my glass was never half full but always full, for the laughter, for bearing with me even when I thought my mom had finally lost it and just wrapped stuff she found in the house to give me for Christmas, but mostly for inviting me into your home and making my 'home' feel not so far away.
After my very Irish Christmas I got home just a quick as holiday traffic would let Bruce drive to skype with the family as they opened presents. No one in my family had ever used skype before which made for an interesting experience...for the first 5 minutes they either did not have a microphone hooked up or they had it muted. I realized this, they did not. Once we finally got sound going Momma felt it was necessary to put her mouth directly on the microphone to speak to me, or if I could get her to back away from the computer she insisted on yelling. I tried to communicate to her that I could hear not only her if she spoke at a normal volume but also every person in the room whether they were 2 or 10 feet away. My attempts at communication were thwarted by my inability to talk over her. Over the course of the two hour skyping experience I got left alone to talk to the wall by everyone in my family twice, got taken on a walking tour of my childhood home (as if it were the first time I'd ever seen it decorated for Christmas), and sang a Christmas carol so my dad could do a sound check.
In the end, despite technical and Momma difficulties, I have a feeling skyping will become a regular thing at the homestead. In years past I have called the fam on Christmas as they've opened presents but there is little replacement for being able to see momma's eyes well up when she opened my gift, or see The Gray Lining stick her tongue out when Momma tells her to quiet down so she can talk to her favorite. My apologies to all that have asked for not video taping this skype experience, I'm sure it would have gone viral in seconds and momma could have been famous...but then again I'm not sure the world is ready for that.
I hope you and yours had as wonderful and merry Christmas as I did.