The young couple was excited, anticipating their upcoming nuptials. Although it was the 1970’s before pre-marital cohabitation was an accepted practice, they were in no doubt that their love for each other and for their families would eliminate any bumps when uniting their clans.
Then Christmas came. The bride-to-be was astonished that her future in-laws would consider gift sharing on Christmas Eve the norm. When does Santa come down the chimney? Likewise her intended thought it incomprehensible that anyone would wait until Christmas morning to open gifts.
How could two people deeply in love have such contradictory values?
When the girls were young, we lived for a time far away from family. I sensed a let-down anticipating a quiet Christmas season without my extended family which I adored. Realizing that I was now an adult, I put forth and we adopted traditions exclusive to us, defining us as a family unit. We practiced some of the traditions for many years.
Thus it was a surprise to me when we all moved in together and ED announced that they would decorate a tree upstairs in their family room. Images of us all together trimming the family tree, serenaded by John Denver and the Muppets, while sipping eggnog was replaced with the reality that ED’s family was another entity. For many years they had decorated and celebrated in their own abode and would continue to do so. It made total sense to me, but in the craziness of the move, my thinking on details was fuzzy.
Our once eventful tradition is now quiet as Mike and I deck the halls as ornaments spark memories of seasons past. Now I sip wine rather than eggnog. But we still listen to John Denver and the Muppets.