Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Musings: Happy Holidaze Part I

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind, but things are starting to calm down now as I'm getting back into the swing of work and work (and getting ready for school to start back up in a couple of weeks).

Easing back into this (and gearing up to make some changes) as well, but before I move ahead, I'm taking a moment to look back by discussing the holidays and my traditions.

Full disclosure: my parents getting divorced was absolutely for the best. However, when they divorced, they decided that since they were adults, they would come up with a holiday visitation schedule on their own like civilized human beings. story short, holidays from 8-19 weren't fun. At all. At this point in my life, the holidays are more about getting to see family that I wouldn't get to see otherwise more than me actually celebrating or making a big deal out of things. If nothing else, I appreciate the fact that there isn't nearly as much drama involved as there used to be.

How I Spent My Thanksgiving:
This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving at four places. Yes, this sounds like a lot of traveling (and eating) but as someone who once went to seven places in a day, four seemed pretty light. With the football games on, it's easy to schedule arrivals and departures by leaving one place during halftime and arriving at the next by the start of the third quarter (I'm lucky that everyone I visit lives within 20 miles of each other) and so on and so forth. Now that I'm getting older, however, eating at each stop is now a strategic affair to keep from ending up with the Thanksgiving Itis.
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Thanksgiving Tradition:

Like many others, my Thanksgiving starts with watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I then cheer for whoever the Dallas Cowboys are playing (yes, I'm from Dallas. No, I don't like the Cowboys) during the afternoon game. As I wind down for the evening, I watch WKRP in Cincinnati's "Turkey's Away" episode. I started doing this years ago as a way to decompress after a long day of visiting family. Now, it's just something I've been doing for so long that it would be weird to stop.  

How I Spent My Festivus:
I grew up watching Seinfeld on NBC and have watched the reruns on TBS and local stations pretty regularly since it went off the air. Don't actually have a Festivus pole (my mom's living room lamp once again doubled as one and before then, a flashlight covered in foil did), but we had the Airing of the Grievances on lock this year (all in fun, nothing dramatic). Paused The Feats of Strength until the next day...more about that in a minute....

Anyways, I'm not really a Festivus-celebrating purist, but I started doing more than just watching "The Strike" when I was younger and tried to celebrate every winter holiday over Winter Break. Inspired partially by The O.C.'s Chrismakkuh and by that one commercial from back in the day that somehow managed to combine the three major holidays into a Happy Chrismahkanakwanzikah greeting (I can't remember who did that now, but it was all the rage for me and my friends), I ended up trying to celebrate five holidays that year: Hanukkah (without a menorah, which kind of put a damper on the festivities), Festivus, Christmas, Boxing Day, and Kwanzaa. 

How I Spent My Christmas Eve:
Christmas shopping. Yep. I waited until the last minute to get everyone gifts this year and I regretted this as soon as I ventured out. I'm very introverted and being around a whole bunch of people at once is very stressful (I declared that my survival = this year's Feats of Strength after I was done with it all). 

I wanted to wait until I got into town so I wouldn't have to try to fit everything in my luggage or ship it all. However, catching up on sleep trumped Xmas shopping until the day before. First time ever waiting that long and my last time as well. A very stressful few hours. 

Christmas Eve Traditions: 

Every year, I go to a different denomination's Christmas Eve service (while this too is stressful, sitting near the back and going with someone I know alleviates this somewhat). This tradition started by accident a few years back. The year before, I visited a Methodist church's midnight service. The next year, I went to a Catholic church's Midnight mass. After that, it became a goal to visit someone different each year. The message itself is pretty similar, but each have unique aspects to their services. I'm interested in learning about different denominations within each major religion, so this is one way I'm able to learn more about this sort of thing. This year, I attended a Bible church's service (and managed to get burned by the candle's wax despite my best efforts...another Xmas eve tradition :~/) 

Once I got in for the evening, I do what I've done every year since I was eighteen: listened to RENT's soundtrack. While set during the holidays, I know it's not a Christmas musical or movie. Still, I absolutely love RENT and have to listen to it in its entirety every 12/24. I used to listen to the movie soundtrack, but now I listen to the Original Broadway Cast soundtrack that include the songs that they had to cut out from the movie (like "Christmas Bells" for example).

Next Monday, I'll discuss how I spent Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve/Day as well as my traditions for each one.  

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