Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So. Holidays are a very... fraught thing. You know what I mean. When you say "holidays" you get an immediate reaction from people. It's "yay" and joy and joyness, or "ugh fuck no." Nobody's lukewarm about holidays. I'm decidedly warm, if you couldn't tell. I got the best of the best growing up, in addition to my parents being ridiculous and over-the-top with the Santa Claus stuff, I guess you could say that my family is very into their traditions. Looking back, I guess there's never really been one set of traditions. There were so many changes over the years in the way we did things and with whom. But because the backdrop was love and togetherness and junk, I look back on it all with fondness. There are always frustrations and petty family irritations lurking in there, stuff I'm sure I don't know the half of due to being a kid, but even the things that made it to my awareness sort of go away when I look back. So now that I have gotten the ball rolling on the next generation for my side of the family (said ball having popped his first tooth yesterday - what a champ!) I really wonder what he'll take away from the holidays. I don't know what'll stick, we're in a time of flux, and everything's an experiment. I guess maybe that's a description of parenting in general? The point is, I'm going to do my damndest to make sure HR looks back on his holiday experience with a happy face. And here's the first one, in pictures, for posterity.

Remember way back in December when Chanukah happened? We observed it every night, lighting the menorah (he loved looking at the fire) and giving him a small present for each day. OK, fine, some of the presents were things he already had, but it's not like he can tell.

Then we had the Chanukah celebration with Dada's side of the family and HR got to meet his new cousin. (I thought we had a picture with all four of the cousins, but I can't find one. Must fix this!) There was much spoil-age of both the bigs and littles, and latkes were enjoyed.

Christmas began with a visit to the homestead, the place where I grew up. I'll never live there again, but it'll always be home to me. We stayed for nearly a week - the longest I've stayed there since I was in college. And it was lovely, so relaxed. We saw so many dear people and felt well taken care of in the way you only can at home.

Christmas Eve we gathered at my Gram's for the traditional meat pie dinner after she got home from church. This is one of my favorite parts, because it's about relaxing and sharing a simple meal. On Christmas night my sister and brother and their affianced arrived and we had the Santa Claus tree and opened our stockings.

The day after, we had Christmas with some of my maternal cousins at Gram's apartment, and HR got his first "white box" which is one of our weirder (but most widely embraced) family traditions that I'm not even going to go into.

A couple of days later we visited my paternal grandmother and her longtime companion. It was so nice because I don't usually get the chance to make a trip there on my visits home.

In between there was a ton of eating and relaxing and all-day pajama wearing. That's my kind of holiday.

Then, there was New Year's, which was a two-day reunion of our supper club. Out of the four original couples, two have moved out of state in the past year, and all of us had babies. So it was a very different New Year, but a delicious one indeed.

Finally, we wrapped it up this past weekend at my place with my other maternal cousins who we didn't get to see on the holiday proper. This celebration has been dubbed "Bag-O-Ham-mas." This one I'll explain. Like a good Jewish boy, one of Mike's favorite things about Christmastime in Maine is the ceremonial breaking into the Christmas dinner leftovers when we're hanging out at night playing games, especially the ziploc bag o' ham. It's become one of the most unbreakable traditions since he came along. So when we got together to do our secret santa thing and spoil the babies (mine and my cousin's), the centerpiece was a bag o' ham. I don't personally enjoy ham, but I enjoy my family. Even when the sheer number of people crammed into my house cause the explosive gas alarm to go off.

See, nobody exploded. Let's do it again next year, guys!

All right! So! There's so much I haven't even written about, but I'm officially holidayed out. In sum, HR loved his first round of wintery celebrations. He got so many amazingly wonderful toys and clothes, we are incredibly grateful, but most importantly he got L.O.V.E.D. up by everyone, and that's what he enjoyed most. That's what I hope he'll remember.

Now for a random song I like to cut the treacle.


  1. Next time, Mike should just shove my head out of the way. Haha

  2. Eh, Mike doesn't like seeing his head in pics so much these days if you know what I mean.