• Since this is the first year we haven’t been traveling for Christmas since DC1 was born, we’ve had to decide what our Christmas traditions are.
    • Are we a big Christmas dinner the night before or the day of?  At the IL’s this is generally dependent on what our flight prices were (are we leaving on Christmas, coming on Christmas eve?) and what BIL’s in-laws in the same town are planning.  So it varies every year.  I have decided we are a Christmas Eve dinner family (and a snack on leftovers all Christmas Day family).
    • What is our traditional Christmas dinner food?  MIL favors ham.  I do not like ham.  We have decided on my mom’s garlic sage pork roast.  (I do miss the traditional BIL’s birthday lasagna though! We were very close to deciding on a lasagna, except DC1 doesn’t like lasagna even though DC2 loves it.  Which is weird because DC2 is the one who dislikes cheese and DC1 likes every individual ingredient of lasagna.)
    • I think we’re not going to be doing Christmas on my sister’s patio.  She brought it up at Thanksgiving but the weather has not been great, so I assume it isn’t happening now, given Christmas is Friday.
    • What kind of tree do we want?  In grad school we had a post-modern wire tree that folded flat because we lived in a tiny apartment.  Then later as adults with kids we would do a felt tree (h/t Leah) since we’d be spending actual Christmas someplace completely decorated for the season.  Early on we had rosemary trees which we would then plant in the yard (and would either die right away or mowers would mow over years later :( ).  Sadly we can’t just go to whole foods and pick one up, but I was able to special order one from a place on Etsy for $40 instead of the $15 it would have cost at a grocery store, had any carried them.  (The locally owned place in town that might carry them is a covid hotspot according to Yelp, with the owner basically not allowing his employees to wear masks properly because he’s some kind of right-wing nutcase.)
    • Are we an open all the gifts on Christmas morning family, or do we have other rules to spread things out?  Back when I was growing up we got one gift on Christmas Eve, which was always exciting.  Our kids have mostly gotten presents that were delivered from family as they came in the mail and they would get presents from us either the night before we left for the plane or the morning after we got back (with the exception of stockings which appear on their beds).  Presents from DH’s family were generally opened at MIL’s sometime on Christmas based on BIL’s in-laws schedule.  Since even with the lottery the kids have a lot of presents, we’ve decided to kind of spread it out, especially since they have a whole week of vacation before and only a single week after.  On Saturday we had them each open up their big present from us and DC1 spent a few hours putting together a unicycle and DC2 spent a few minutes putting together a razor scooter.  Then they went out and played with them.
    • Do the kids get to open presents without us or do they have to wait?  This one will be the same as with the in-laws– they can open stockings as soon as they wake up, but everyone has to be awake and there for Christmas present opening.
  • We’ve set up a crafting zoom with MIL.  They’re both buying the same ornaments kits from Michael’s and also the same ingredients to assemble melted snowman cookies.  We set up a date and a time (which was hard since MIL is taking care of SIL’s twins 8 hours a day 5 days a week, and actually has all 4 kids when their school is out but SIL’s isn’t).  DC2 sings, Santa doesn’t care if you’re precise, he just cares that you’re nice.
  • DH says that nuts.com knows what they’re doing when it comes to organic vegan gummy bears.
  • My sister says she is worried about my mother’s safety and is going to tell my father’s therapist so.  She is likely right.
  • I have a conference paper due December 27th that didn’t exist in any shape or form on December 1st.  It’s not done yet.  (Technically I had two papers due December 27th, but one of them already had a draft and was updated and turned in last Saturday.)  But I’m taking Christmas completely off even if I’ve been working most weekends.
  • After spending most of the summer playing Christmas music, DC1 has been refusing to play Christmas themed piano pieces (only playing ragtime) and DC2 has been playing lots of “holiday” music from the Fourth of July (“It’s not my fault it starts with America,” says DC1 about hir school’s holiday music thing.)
  • Youtube has been offering a lot more old-fashioned Christmas music to me this year which is a nice change from the same old 70s- 90s hits it usually focuses on.  Not that I dislike said hits, just, it’s nice getting more variety.  I’ve especially enjoyed the King’s Singers Christmas and the old Goodyear tire albums from the 60s.  Sammy Davis Jr. is such an incredible singer– he makes it all sound so easy and smooth.
  • DC1 is doing a computer programming contest thing.  They really like cows in their problems.  Did you know that the conference call software that cows use is called mooz?


Have you had to figure out any new Christmas traditions this year?

18 Responses to “RBOChristmas”

  1. Bev Says:

    Hurrah for pork roast! I’d choose pork roast over ham any day of the week.

  2. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I quite like ham but it feels too big for just the three of us. We just did a big grocery run yesterday to see us through the rest of the week and I suddenly realize we completely failed to pick a main for Christmas. I should have gotten that frozen duck at Costco and tried my hand at it. Though PiC may want to go the route of A Christmas Story and get Chinese takeout and if so, that’s fine by me.

    We also need to make some decisions and SOON about presents. JB has received a truckload of gifts and we need to space them out, mainly for my sanity. I also need to do some semblance of wrapping a gift or two from us. We don’t do stockings, but I did make a cloth bag for them last year to hold opened gifts that I might haul out and use as a gift bag this year.

    I usually just buy a new lot of stocks for our own gifts each year but this year PiC asked for a custom ornament so I ordered that and I also picked up a DVD for him that will arrive by the new year. I guess our tradition is going to be more of a winter break set of traditions than Christmas day tradition!

  3. Steph Says:

    I’m still figuring things out this year. Usually on Christmas Eve my sister and I will decide on the absolute earliest time we are willing to get up, and whoever wakes up first gets everyone else up after that time. It’s been a few years since we’ve rushed to open presents, though – now it’s more like getting us all downstairs and getting everybody caffeinated, and then we sit down and open presents at a leisurely pace. No early presents for us, we do stockings and everything together. And usually I make my Dad his favorite cake as one of his presents.

    This year neither my sister nor I is going home for Christmas. My Mom drove our presents up to us last weekend, instead of mailing them. I had everyone’s presents shipped directly to them. No cake for Dad. And it sounds like we’ll be doing zoom gift opening in the afternoon. It all feels very strange.

    • Steph Says:

      Oh, and I also have a conference presentation due at the end of December (the conference isn’t til mid-january, but for some reason they want our electronic posters submitted new year’s eve). So I’m working on that until the 31st, with a day off for Christmas, and then I’m taking time off in January. That’s definitely a change from my usual MO, which is to take off 10 days or so spanning Christmas and New Years.

  4. mnitabach Says:

    Every year since she passed, I’ve taken on the torch of Nana Cruz’s Christmas eve chile braised meat tamales/tacos. This year it’s just me & Heather at home instead of with the Cruz clan, but I’ve still made the tacos.

  5. Alice Says:

    Nothing new for us: we’ve done solo family Christmases since I had a family of my own. About the only special thing this year is that I am specifically not doing a Zoom like we did for Thanksgiving. Mostly because the Thanksgiving Zoom was a big part of a series of disheartening family conversations in which people tossed off references to their later-day gathering plans. We’re in full lockdown mode in our house, and I’m better off not knowing for sure the ways in which other family members are not locking down. I find I’m happier thinking “hm, that family member… might not be?” but still being able to hope that underneath, they actually are.

    (And since I already know of one family member who’s complimenting himself on traveling to see elderly relatives, I already know more than I want to. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s better that at least this time, it isn’t news on the actual holiday. But I don’t want to know from anyone else.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ugh, I know what you mean. Last weekend BIL went to meet his in-laws for a gift exchange at a halfway point and in my imagination they met in full winter gear in a wintry parking lot and carefully transferred gifts from one car trunk to another in a fully socially distanced fashion. But I seriously doubt that’s what actually happened based on past knowledge (most likely they met inside Cracker Barrel for lunch). I like my mental story better.

  6. becca Says:

    My Christmas tradition is cows (i.e. going up to see my Aunt and cousins on the farm), so now I have to figure something else out. I think I’m doing lasagna for dinner tomorrow, if the ricotta comes through. We did Chinese food one year, which was nice, but this year we had Chinese food “early”.

    We’ll do presents on Christmas. I was vaguely shocked to learn some people did presents earlier when I was a kid, but my Mom’s birthday was the 21st and mine is the 23rd, so my parents quite sensibly wouldn’t have considered the 24th as anything but liminal space regardless.
    I am, however, very unfussed about exactly what day things arrive and really can’t understand people hurrying to be *on time* for Christmas. I hope everyone learns to chill out about that this year. I know there will be some presents after Christmas for my kids, which is likely good for spacing.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      There have been surprisingly few delivery trucks in the neighborhood today. Usually it’s hopping on the 24th.

      We did a Scalzi and left out snacks and drinks for delivery people this week. It’s been interesting seeing what people take– clementines have been the most popular, over cereal bars, lara bars, and animal crackers. Only one person took a little hand sanitizer.

  7. CG Says:

    This is our first Christmas in our own house in both of our adult lives. It’s weird. I’ll make the same orange sweet rolls I make every year (and used to make with my dad) for Christmas breakfast/brunch. We will go to my in-laws’ (who live in our town) for Christmas dinner. My MIL always does prime rib and I’ll make my family’s traditional plum pudding, which I love. You douse it in brandy and set it on fire. I am actually happy to be home, but I miss our normal Christmas at my childhood home. And of course I always miss my dad more at the holidays. Slightly buried in your RBOC was a worrisome comment about your parents. I don’t remember what their situation is. I hope they are okay, or if they are not, that things improve soon.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I feel like Prime Rib is haunting me this season. It is being talked about everywhere! But the smallest we can get is more than 8lb! I did put a prime ribeye steak on the grocery list for next week. I haven’t said anything about my parents’ situation before, but don’t think there’s anything I can do about it and can’t see any path forward for improvement. A current theory is that my father had a mini-stroke that is amplifying underlying problems. If you read Captain Awkward, my father is and has always been an “Alice” but it sounds like things are getting worse (also CA letter #963 describes my childhood).

  8. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Wait, I conflated your mom with your MIL who is taking care of your niblings. Is your mom ok?

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