We finally got out of the house yesterday to buy some groceries. The weather had been so awful we didn’t want to venture out until Friday afternoon. I think the whole town got to the store the same time I did. It was crazy busy, and I saw one ribeye roast after another being handed out at the meat counter. Grocery shelves have been pretty bare due to the interstate being closed and trucks unable to deliver to the stores. Anyone planning a large family gathering for Christmas must have been stressed and panicky not being able to get things from the stores.

Our daughter will arrive at our local airport tomorrow night around 9:00. We are traditionally Christmas Eve people, going to church, celebrating with our big meal, and opening presents and calling it a night. This year our Christmas dinner will be on Boxing Day, and we agreed that presents will be simple and few. The bathroom remodel is at a standstill until the flooring arrives and workers can get here from Bismarck. Our home isn’t the tidiest right now, and there isn’t much we can do about it until the construction is done.

The most important thing for us now is to get our daughter home, and to just hang out together for the week. I am not so concerned with having everything done at the proper time than I am at having a less stressful holiday. Our tree is up but not yet decorated. We will do that on Monday. The Christmas baking is done. We will spend the week cooking our favorite foods and taking naps.

Are you a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day person? How do you manage holiday pressure and stress? Tell of some of your more memorable holiday gatherings.

66 thoughts on “Ready?”

  1. We are “Christmas Day” people, but are willing to flex to accommodate someone’s travel plans. Our original plans this year had son-and-spouse scheduled to arrive by car from Chicago on the 23rd, and daughter-and-spouse by air from Denver the same day. Well, those have changed. The “car couple” arrived on the morning of the 21st, (planning to depart the morning of the 26th) and the “air couple” are delayed until the night of the 26th.
    I’m a native of Los Angeles, where snow is something cold and up on the mountains. Having more than a foot of the stuff right outside the door (and more coming down) is neither reminiscent of a wonderful past holiday nor something beautiful now. Let Me OUT!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Both – I had one parent from each camp, so it’s always been a mix of things. Today we’ll bake bread to take to a gathering on Christmas Day. I’m going to try Krista’s Oyster Stew recipe tonight, and make a carrot soup for Husband.
    Be back later…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Rise and Celebrate the Holiday, Baboons,

    Safe travels to daughter, Renee. After all this effort and weather problems, I know she will eat well, but can she use a bathroom at your house?

    In August, 1986, following a divorce and being laid off from my job, I returned to the Twin Cities with my small son having taken a job with a school district. That fall he got sick, eventually getting ear infections and walking pneumonia. Then the car broke down. Then I contracted walking pneumonia. This all played out over months. By Christmas time when it was time to purchase a Christmas tree, we were both so weak and tired we did not get a tree, instead we decorated all the houseplants with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. The cat entertained himself with those in the traditional cat manner, Santa came without incident. We slept a lot and administered antibiotics.

    In my parents’ family there was only one firm tradition—carefully removing the Christmas wrapping paper and folding it for re-use the next year. This really took the fun out of any part of it since if we tore it there was disapproval. We never knew when we were celebrating, either. It seemed to depend on when my mother’s family was gathering and my mother’s emotional state which was often not a motivation to love this holiday.

    Christmas now is still about hanging out with friends, or my son and his wife whose birthday is on Christmas. She wants houseplants for her birthday, which I got for her, but getting them out of the store to the house required quick movement yesterday.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hard to separate one Christmas from another.

    My family, growing up, emphasized Christmas Eve. That’s when my parents and I, my uncle and his wife, my grandmother and various elderly family friends would gather to celebrate. Dinner would include lutefisk and Swedish meatballs. As I was the only child in the proceedings, it was all very adult-focused and, for a kid, excruciating. Dinner was leisurely and after dessert and coffee and discussion as to whether the lutefisk had been especially good or ruined (what’s the difference?) and only after all the dishes had been washed (this was before dishwashers were common) could presents be opened. As I said, excruciating.

    After Robin and I married, the custom was for us to drive down to Northfield, where her parents and siblings lived, very early Christmas morning, often arriving before anyone was awake, they all having stayed up late writing cards for the presents. Elaborate notes, odes, limericks, etc. on the cards were part of their tradition then. We would start breakfast when we arrived.
    There were Christmases where we drove down in blizzard conditions for the sake of the tradition. Christmas Day with Robin’s family was an all-day event, often punctuated with the whole family sledding down Bell Hill on the Carleton campus.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Both. As a kid, both sets of grandparents were in town, so we shuttled back and forth a lot on Eve and Day. Later when grandparents died/moved away, it was still both Eve and Day but at home. A nice meal and hang the stockings on Xmas Eve, then open presents Xmas morning and have the main dinner–usually some sort of roast beast.

    After parents divorced and we kids got married, it was back to shuttling around within that 36-hour period to see everyone. Dad started a Christmas Eve bouillabaisse tradition, and Mom began to host a Christmas Day open house for family, friends, and neighbors.

    Now some 30 years later, Dad’s in AZ and Mom gave up on the open house because of dwindling attendance. So now, the kids and grandkids will celebrate on Christmas Day with a rotating brunch so everyone can drive home before dark. 🙂 We used to have a rotating host for a Christmas dinner celebration the Saturday before Christmas or Christmas Eve so we’d all have time to meet our other Christmas obligations without rushing around.

    Sandra and I usually have Christmas Eve dinner alone, but this year we’re hosting a friend and former co-worker of Sandra’s whose husband died suddenly six months ago. A small payback for her generosity over the years.

    Only really memorable story was the Christmas morning when we almost burned the house down because the candles in the yule log set the pine boughs on fire and nearly set the drapes on fire if not for Dad’s quick thinking.

    My favorite memory (of a non-dangerous kind) was Mom reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to us right before bed on Christmas Eve. She did that until we were all well into our teens.

    I stopped getting stressed about the holidays when we started making charitable donations instead of buying gifts for everyone. I can’t speak highly enough of not participating in the mass frenzy that Christmas shopping has turned into. If we ever do away with that wretched tradition and return to sane gift giving–from the heart, not a show of how wealthy we are or to make ourselves feel better or as an unpleasant obligation–our society has a much better chance of surviving.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hi Chris, we switched about 5 years ago to doing donations rather than gifts once my step-daughter was about 20. If/when we have grandchildren, we might go back to gifting again, but I can’t forsee that being a thing anymore for those of us who are adults. Best wishes to you and yours!

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Growing up, Christmas eve was the midnight church candle light service, which I always really enjoyed. I think we did one gift that night, then opened the rest the next day.

    After getting married, Christmas eve was at Kelly’s relatives and they always had the best snacks and treats and I still miss those people and those treats.

    Christmas has always been a matter of coordinating schedules so it rarely happen on the day, more often a weekend when the majority could make it, so that’s always been normal for me. A friend used to tease me that Christmas lasted a week in my religion.
    I worked with a guy who EXPECTED the kids at his house for Christmas. It didn’t matter they were married and there was other family to consider, they WOULD BE at his place for Christmas. I never thought that was right either.

    My family this year has settled on 1/1/23 for our Christmas. But mom, in a wheelchair, we couldn’t find transportation for her so moved the location, which, the host had a little bit (in public, probably major in private) hissy fit. So someone else is hosting this year and they’ll host next year. AND IT WASN’T EVEN THEIR HOUSE! THEY USE A HALL!
    Ah, the pettiness of it all. 🙂 Holidays bring out the best of us, doesn’t it.

    Our immediate family will do Christmas Day. And then son and DiL, will come here after the 1/1 event and we’ll do another Christmas with them. I enjoy spreading out the holidays.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Merry Christmas to all baboons everywhere. Regardless of how, when, or if you celebrate this winter holiday, I wish you contentment and peace of mind.

    Growing up, CHRISTMAS was on Christmas Eve, the culmination of our Christmas celebration. The 25th and the 26th, also part of the official Christmas holiday, had their own function and traditions.

    I could go on and on about my Christmas memories, but I know you all have better things to do with you time than reading about them, so I shall spare you the details.

    We’ll have a quiet dinner tonight, just the two of us. Tomorrow we’ll be having Christmas dinner with Ann at her house.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. I know I’ve told you about my first Christmas following my separation from wasband. It was lonely, and sad, but it also inspired me to start another tradition that became a true treasure.

    I was determined to never again be lonely for Christmas, and the following year invited a few friends, augmented with a couple of stray foreign students from the UofM, to celebrate Christmas Eve with me.

    Each participant was asked to bring a dish to share that was associated with their tradition of the holiday, and we had a feast. Though most of us didn’t know each other, it was a wonderfully warm and joyous celebration, centered around my own Danish traditions. It was a truly magical evening, and from it grew an annual Christmas Eve celebration that included traditions from other ethnic and religious backgrounds, a tradition that endured for almost thirty years.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. When I was growing up, our own tradition was Christmas Eve, when we’d take a ride to look at lights, and Santa would manage to come each year while we were out. (We had no fireplace chimney…) Unless we went to my Grandma Britson’s, where it was always Christmas morning.

    When Joel was growing up, for many years we did what I called the marathon – Christmas Eve at Michael’s folks, then our own on Christmas morn, and drive down to Marshalltown for another one the next day. This was easier once we moved back up to Mpls, as Michael’s folks were in Robbinsdale…

    This year was easy since the kids had been here at Thanksgiving, and I didn’t have to mail gifts out. I stress out with self-imposed deadlines and expectations – at this point I wouldn’t have to please anyone buy Husband, and he’s easy. My goal each year is to not try to do everything that I think of.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Christmas Eve was always at home, then Christmas Day was split between relatives in Magnolia, and then later in the day in Pipestone. I had a ton of cousins I saw all the time since we lived so close.

    I made my last trip to the grocery store this morning. I am also working on my last batch of Stollen, which will go to friends tonight and next week. I will also bake some some Jam Brussels and some ginger short bread tomorrow, as Daughter requested them and I find we have given away all the ones I already baked. A boneless turkey breast is in the slow cooker for turkey chowder tomorrow. We have church tonight, and I am assisting minister and Husband will play his cello with a flute player who is arriving g from Billings in the next hour or so. No church tomorrow for us.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I grew up in a “One present on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas” household and Mrs B grew up in a “everything on Christmas Eve” household (because her mom was a nurse and pretty much worked every Christmas). So we’re now a one on the evening and the rest on christmas household ourselves.
    Except for this year. Because we’re going to be so busy on Christmas that we decided to open presents today so we wouldn’t be pressured tomorrow 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  12. A good friend of mine lost her mother two weeks ago. I also recently heard from a former co-worker and one of my fellow volunteers that their mothers had passed away. All were in their 90’s or above, but still, it’s not an easy time for anyone, losing a parent.

    At the beginning of December, I met my sister and nieces for an outing, kind of kicking off the Christmas season at a holiday bazaar. My nieces were in a squabble that day, and it got the holiday off on something of a sour note.

    Keeping it simple this year.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Baboons! I’ll be offline for a couple of weeks – leave tomorrow for my long awaited (2 and a half years) Antarctica cruise. I’ll have short stops in Miami and Buenos Aires on the way – can’t wait to get away from the cold and snow for a couple of days. And it might even be a bit warmer in Antarctica than here . Wish me luck at the airport tomorrow!

    Liked by 5 people

  14. We are in a winter weather advisory until this evening. It will in the 30’s until this afternoon when an Alberta clipper will move in with gusty winds. Sigh.It will get better through the evening. Daughter is scheduled to arrive tonight at 9:00. I do hope they won’t cancel her flight.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Merry Christmas to all Baboons and friends and family!

    It was important to Mom to have family traditions when we were kids. I really tried to keep them alive for her but my brothers just aren’t interested and we have a really small, loosely knit kind of family now. So there aren’t traditions anymore.

    We always had oyster stew on Christmas Eve. We had our grandparents over and lots of presents under the tree. After supper, the women would do dishes and clean up. Even as a little kid, I was included in the clean-up tasks while my brothers were allowed to do whatever they wanted. Once the dishes were done and everything was put away, except for a tray of cookies and cups of coffee for the adults, we could open presents. We opened most of the presents on Christmas Eve and we did it incredibly slowly. One person would be chosen to start and would grab a gift, read the tag, and deliver it to the person to its recipient. That person would open the gift and express their thanks, then pass it around for everyone to see. Then it would be their turn to choose a gift for someone else. It was a pretty slow process and as kids we had to develop patience. My mom was also one of those gift wrap savers, so we had to open gifts without tearing, then carefully fold the paper instead of balling it up and throwing it at someone, which would have been much more fun. We also had to save boxes, stick-on bows, and ribbon, if possible. I know there are families who just tear into a pile of gifts and wade around in wadded up paper to their knees. I think this would be great fun but it’s never been in my experience.

    After all the gifts under the tree were opened, we would be allowed to hang our stockings. Our grandparents would say good night, sleep tight, and See you tomorrow! In the morning there would be more gifts from Santa. There were always big apples and oranges in our stockings, also something small and useful like a pair of socks or mittens. We would also get a larger, special gift like a pair of skis or a bike at this time. After that we would go to my maternal grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner. Sometimes we would have it at our house and I was trained how to set the table perfectly for a formal dinner with the best china. My brothers were sent outside to release energy. Setting the table for a formal dinner was a skill I’ve never really needed.

    We were not a church-going family. Nobody in my family is very religious at all. My dad resisted it. My maternal grandparents were members of the Associated Church in Owatonna. They were really disappointed in us not coming every Sunday. Mom did bring us from time to time, but not usually on Christmas. Dad refused. (When he passed away in 1992 that church was very kind to us.)

    I tried to at least keep the Christmas Eve traditions alive but I failed. My brothers just weren’t interested and I have no one else. So I made oyster stew for myself last night. If the temperature goes above zero today, I plan to go for a walk. I might go snowshoeing in Carleton Arb or Nerstrand woods later.

    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Did you make oyster stew yesterday?

        Merry Christmas, and good luck with daughter’s travel. May she come through it all without major delays or getting stuck in some godforsaken place.

        I’ve been enjoying a nice quiet Christmas morning, munching on delicious home made (not by me!) stollen, sipping strong coffee, taking “steps” on my passive leg exerciser, while reading “A Private Spy,” my Christmas present from Hans. It’s 4º F outside. Not exactly balmy, but I’ll take it (as if I have a choice!).

        Liked by 3 people

  16. Well, this is a nightmare. Both flights from Denver to Dickinson are cancelled due to our weather. Daughter is sitting in the plane at the gate in Seattle with airplane technical difficulties. She can’t just go back to her apartment because her bag is checked.


  17. I did make Krista’s oyster stew recipe last night, and it turned out well! Will finish it off tonight, and it’s all I need since we’re still stuffed from the meal we had at noon with nearby friends – 10 of us total, and still basking in the glow.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. i always got a kick out of how you really can live at the airport

    if they offered health club facilities a shower and a bed for overnights i think i could road warrior for weeks

    traveling to many locations the hotel you stay at is as sterile and remote as staying at the airport would be

    my growing up traditions were 1 present christmas eve the rest christmas day

    my wife’s tradition was and ours became a fondue christmas eve and presents and dinner christmas day with family and friends

    this year 20 for dinner with 4 visiting and 16 or 17 for fondue

    Liked by 2 people

  19. as a kid grandfather came by with presents (good ones) christmas eve but we waited til christmas day to open
    then in th grandparents house for dinner christmas with the cousins and a couple aunts
    kids table routine was standard fare then cousins started positioning to sit at main table and only those who hated the bs sat at kids table
    ended up my family only and we laughed a lot
    that’s the tradition i continue

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Merry Christmas! Teenage daughter slept till 1:00. We opened stockings and one gift, then Had lunch (ham, corn, risotto- all yummy!) then opened the rest of the gifts. She’s always underwhelmed. Unless she asked Santa for it- and gets it- nothing else measures up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Back when I was milking cows, on Christmas morning I would hear ‘Brother Heinrich’s Christmas’.

      Haven’t heard it in a lot of years, but found it on YouTube today and had a trip down memory lane.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. We’re back home from our dinner with Ann. Our friend and former neighbor, Don, joined us. So, just the four of us for a dinner of prime rib au jus with a horseradish sauce on the side. Twice baked potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables, and Caesar salad. Ann served an apple, pecan pie for desert with coffee. Quiet, peaceful, and quite lovely.

    Liked by 5 people

  22. A friend sent this in an email today:

    “Christmas Light” by May Sarton

    When everyone had gone
    I sat in the library
    With the small silent tree,
    She and I alone.
    How softly she shone!

    And for the first time then
    For the first time this year,
    I felt reborn again,
    I knew love’s presence near.

    Love distant, love detached
    And strangely without weight,
    Was with me in the night
    When everyone had gone
    And the garland of pure light
    Stayed on, stayed on.

    Liked by 3 people

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