It started nearly ten years ago with my husband's family, this tradition that we now affectionately call Thanksmas. Since we don't get to visit each other in December, we devote the Friday after Thanksgiving to celebrating Christmas.
Essentially, we segue from turkey and fixings on Thursday to leftover turkey and fixings on Friday, plus our gift exchange. It's seamless. It's festive. It's fun. It's convenient. It's a true holiday mash-up.
And it completely messes with my internal calendar. I return to work after Thanksgiving wearing a new sweater, receive a compliment, and want to say, "Thanks, I got it for Christmas," forgetting that Christmas was eleven months ago to everyone else. I'm ready to wish people a happy New Year.
I've been thrown for a holiday loop.
I've wondered what effect Thanksmas would have on our kids. I once broached the subject with Joel, asking whether he thought they'd find it strange that we celebrate Christmas twice. He looked at me as if I had grown another head. Strange? What kid wouldn't love two Christmases?
He had a good point.
But what about waiting eagerly for Christmas morning? What about the anticipation when you went to bed on Christmas Eve as a child, knowing that Christmas was just one night's sleep away? What about sneaking downstairs and hiding behind the couch while your parents, who knew you were there all along, went along with the game? What about the tradition of rushing into your sibling's room the morning of Christmas, running down the steps together, and then dashing back upstairs to dive into your parents' bed while they burrowed under the covers just a moment longer and mumbled something about needing coffee?
What about all that?
My friend once noted, "Your kids won't have your holiday traditions. They'll have their own."
She's right. All my recollections of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning -- how my brother and I collided down the narrow stairs of our Pittsburgh home every Christmas morning, how my father started the coffee, how my mom curled up on the side of the couch in her fuzzy robe -- make up the backdrop of my childhood holiday memories.
In the same fashion, Reese, Brooke, and Kerrington are developing memories from the traditions that we're setting up now. They're different memories from how I experienced Christmas, but ones that are just as special, ones that are uniquely theirs.
Many years from now when my girls are grown and have husbands and kids of their own, it's quite likely that they'll revert to celebrating only one Christmas. They might call each other and ask, "Do you think our kids will find it strange that we just have one Christmas?"
Hopefully, one of them will supply the others with the same good insight I was given. Just because it's different, doesn't make it any less significant.
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