23 December 2008

Christmas Traditions

Everyone's got their holiday traditions. Maybe it's Christmas Eve at the grandparents', or an eggnog toast before bed. Some have established rules for when gifts are exchanged, or who goes where, or what-have-you. In our family, the traditions have always been fairly simple...

First off, I have NEVER had either turkey or ham for Christmas or Eve: it has ALWAYS been lasagne. With mom being Italian, it made sense. Christmas Eve was "catch-as-catch-can", finding whatever for food while mom went to Mass (dad and I were forbidden: putting either of us in a church on a solmen occassion was a recipe for disaster). Then Christmas day, we'd load the pan (a turkey roasting pan) full of Italian goodness into the oven right away in the morning, so that it'd be ready for people to gorge themselves later that evening.

Second thing I remember was gifts. In our family, THE important factor wasn't the cost, or the usefullness, or even the thought: it was the size of the package. Which sounds bad, until you realize the gift itself was secondary to the amount of ammunition the wrapping paper provided. Yes, everyone (including my mother) would end up in a wrapping paper fight. Usually, we'd still be finding balls of paper in July.

The last "tradition", you could say, was mom's habit of inviting ANYONE we knew that didn't have a full schedule that day. To illustrate: my first year in the Navy, she invited the base commander from RTC Great Lakes, as well as my Company Commander from boot.

And so our Christmas went. With the advent of Spoon, things changed just a little: Christmas Eve would be at her parents (which is where we'd also exchange gifts, and have the war), with Christmas Day at my mine. Understand here, the only thing different on either day was the location: the cast of characters was pretty much the same.

After a couople of years like this, mom passed: Christmas that year fairly well sucked. As in "large rocks off the seafloor". But we've soldiered on. Last year, dad and Spoon revived the tradition of lasagne...

What's this all leading up to? Well, this year (actually, while I'm typing this), *I* get to make the thing. I'm pretty good at sauce (which is simmering less than five feet from where I sit), but the rest is unknown territory.

Hopefully, it'ss turn out ok. If it doesn't, I'm blaming my mom-in-law (she's supposed to help with the actual construction). I'll let y'all know how it turns out.

Oh, yeah. If you're in the Manitowoc area, you COULD always pop in: the tradition of inviting all-and-sundry to dinner is still there...

No comments: