Mmmm...butter...the main ingredient in Christmas baking.
But it's only December 4th, I keep telling myself. Only 20 days to Christmas Eve. I suppose the added pressure is this year I'm a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. I know when this baby comes, all bets are off on whether or not any baking will get done, or any presents will get wrapped.
This year we are doing a little extra as well, as I finally put my foot down and said I wanted some time to celebrate Christmas with just Knut and I and our kids. For the last 10 years of our marriage, we have rotated between our 2 families, which I think is pretty normal. We still will continue to do that. However, our extended families are so large!
When we celebrate Christmas in town, we celebrate with the large extended family (Knut's grandparents and cousins) and we celebrate separately with Knut's parents and siblings. Those years are pretty easy.
Other years we celebrate with my family down in Arizona. Or, I should say we celebrate with my parents and grandparents, and then we celebrate with my step-dad's mom and brothers. That would be easy if it stopped there. However, we then we come back home and celebrate with Knut's parents, and then his grandma and family on his other side. Christmas just never ends those years.
We never really open presents around our tree. There is very little space left for our little family to have many traditions, and last year after we got back from our trip, and celebrated Christmas #5 I snapped a bit. Silje is now 8 years old, and has no memory of any special Christmas at her own home. She's half way through childhood, and we've just done nothing...besides go everywhere else.
So I braced myself and told Knut that I wanted a piece of Christmas for our family. It was important to me. I know the big Christmas Eve celebration was too much to ask for, so I just wanted Christmas morning brunch. Normally he just goes along with making me happy, but I could tell that I was asking quite a lot from him this time. His mom makes a killer brunch. I mean...it's really good.
Not that we're skipping his parents' house altogether. We'll just go there after brunch. I just want part of the day at home. That's not so bad, right?
Don't ask me why I picked a year I'm having a new baby. Don't ask me why I waited 10 years into our marriage before I said "I want things different." Don't ask me why I want to stay and make a huge mess making a big brunch in my own kitchen, when we could go down the road and eat a probably better meal made by someone else. I just want to. It's this desire to have some hand in some holiday involving my children besides bringing a bag of chips to the leftover meal in the evening.
It doesn't make any logical sense, but I'm not claiming to be logical or sensible right now. I'm very, very pregnant. I just know what I want...sometimes.
Like I said, something in me snapped, and I didn't want to just add one more Christmas to the list of Christmas' that we celebrate. I wanted 1 piece of Christmas that we as a family could do something special, and handle it in a way that I wanted to handle it. Years where we celebrate Christmas 5 times are terrible. At that point, there are toys (mostly broken after a few days) everywhere. The kids hold their hands out to receive gifts from everyone. They normally have very few sugary treats, but they get them all day long "because it's Christmas." Naps are skipped, bedtimes are ignored "because it's Christmas" 5 times...in a row. It's like a horror show for moms. One day of all-sugar-no-sleep is special. 5 days is torture. If it were just one time a year, I'd take it. But a week, or 2 weeks of Christmas insanity? I can't handle it.
And in that list of 5 Christmas'...not one of them is just us. Not one of them is around our tree. Not one of them can my kids say "I remember my mom made Christmas special this way..." Well, that's not totally true, and I'm being a bit melodramatic I suppose, but I can easily blame the "about to pop" hormones on that. We do make some Christmas crafts, and I am trying some special traditions that we do to celebrate the Advent season.
That's why I didn't want to just add on an extra day to Christmas celebrations. I wanted to start saying "no" to some others. "No" is not a word that we're good at saying, and some in our midwestern culture may even find it to be worse than most 4 letter words.
So this year I'm setting myself up for not only the typical cookies, but prepping for Christmas morning. That's logical to do when it hurts to stand at this point, right? I'm making some homemade caramel rolls ahead of time, to be pulled out of the freezer and baked up that morning. I'm also doing the same with an egg bake. So those will be set to just throw in. Silje has also requested a large bowl of clementines, and that should be easy to do. (She's helping me plan...of course.) I want to serve some hot wassail like my grandma did, and I may steal Knut's family tradition to have some rice pudding as well. I think that may be all. I can handle that, right?
I might be most excited to decorate the dining room Christmas Eve. Put a tablecloth on, set out the china and tea cups. Make a centerpiece, and just set up a sight for the kids to see when they come downstairs.
However, I'm fairly certain, that this selfishness of me saying no to one family event, and planning to do Christmas morning "just us" is just begging for the irony of me going just a few days past my due date, and having the baby born Christmas morning, and the kids being watched over at Grandma's house anyway...having Christmas brunch. I'm about 50% sure that's what's going to happen.
How does your family divide up Christmas?