It’s Christmas Eve, and the rain that is falling now is expected to turn to snow. Heavy snow. Until very recently, this would have caused great angst between me and my husband. You see, my Christmas tradition, from the time I could remember, was to go to Grandma’s house for Christmas Eve. In the Danish tradition, we had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Dessert was Danish apple cake, beautifully painted marzipan fruits, and other Danish goodies that came out only at Christmastime. And then, best of all, we opened our presents from Grandma and Grandpa. These Christmas memories are among my happiest.
When we became adults, my parents became Grandma and Grandpa and the tradition continued. The only problem came when the weather was stormy. My very practical husband made it clear many times that he was not happy I insisted on driving to Ogden for Christmas Eve unless the roads were officially closed by the Highway Patrol. That happened only once in the 33 years we made the trek, but we drove in some pretty treacherous conditions over the years.
All good things must come to an end. Last year my parents made the decision that our family had become too large for them to accommodate the huge gathering, and frankly, they just didn’t have the energy to do it anymore.
After I recovered from nostalgia’s punch in the gut, I realized that the timing of their decision was actually very good. Our son is married; our daughter will be soon, and they need to incorporate their life partners in their Christmas traditions. As for us, we’ve decided that Christmas Eve will involve a steak dinner and Christmas Candlelight service. The kids are invited but not obligated. Tonight it will just be the two of us. On Christmas morning, our family and friends will join us for Eggs Benedict. This is our 25+ year tradition.
When I finally graduate to Grandma status (I have faith it will eventually happen), I suspect we’ll continue to celebrate on Christmas Day. Our son’s in-laws are of German descent and celebrate on Christmas Eve. Our daughter’s in-laws-to-be also celebrate on Christmas Eve. We may move the celebration to one of the grandkids’ houses. We may not. We’ll face that transition when we come to it – in the joyful spirit of the one in whose name we celebrate.