Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Day Before Christmas!

I've made it. Last night I worked a marathon 16 hours and got everything ready for the long holiday at work. I now have 9 days off.

9. Days. Off.

I can do nothing today if I want. There is no running to get this or that done. I don't really have to be anywhere until tomorrow afternoon, when my family will be celebrating Christmas.

We've never been Christmas Eve People. I know people that would do everything on Christmas Eve. "Santa" would even come on Christmas Eve.

My Mom was the district manager for a rather large drug store chain when I was little. Christmas Eve was a nightmare for her, and she would always come stumbling through the door at 8 or 9 o'clock at night.

This left us all day with my Dad to care for us.

This, my dear readers, is like putting the cat in charge of the mice.

My Dad couldn't stand to wait for Christmas morning. First we'd go on a mission to help him find his presents from my Mom. The attic was off limits because it was dangerous (and also where our presents were hidden, I would find out when I got a bit older), but he'd have us searching the rest of the house.

My Mom always did a good job of hiding his stuff, because like all Moms, I'm sure her radar went off each year and she knew what we were doing. My Dad is one of those people that can pick up a present and say, "Why it's a book on the French and Indian War!" without unwrapping it. How he does this is beyond me, but the man has a gift I tell you.

We usually couldn't find them, so eventually he'd give up. He'd make us hot chocolate and tell us stories from when he was a boy. We'd get out the finger food my Mom had painstakingly made for us to munch on, and just have a great day with our Dad.

My Mom would come home tired and cranky, and we'd listen to her Christmas Eve stories about people that waited until the last minute and then couldn't understand why the stores didn't have what they wanted.

She would also bring home McDonald's or pizza. It was the only time in my childhood that we would EVER eat McDonalds. We would eat and then be sent to bed, usually with a warning of how Santa was probably close and if we weren't asleep he just might pass us up.

Then, usually somewhere around 3 AM, my Dad would no longer be able to take it, and he would put on his work boots, grab some jingle bells, and run through the house. Groggily we'd wake up and realize that we had just heard Santa leaving the roof, and run to the living room and see all our beautiful gifts, with my Dad standing there who always said, "I almost caught him this year!"

Every picture we have of us kids opening presents on Christmas has a very tired Mother in them. I don't think any court of law would have convicted her if she would have killed him.

So this leaves us without a Christmas Eve tradition now that we are older, which suits me just fine. When I go down to my parent's house in the south for Christmas my Mom still makes finger food and tells stories. She's decidedly much more relaxed about the whole deal now that she doesn't have to work in the seventh layer of hell on Christmas Eve anymore.

I'm not going there this year because of all of the hours I've been working, and the parental units are staying at my brother's house for Christmas.

He still has little kids, and I have no doubt in my mind that my Dad will run through their house at 3 AM, and once the kids are up, he will dejectedly proclaim, "I almost caught him this year!"

Happy Christmas everyone! Yes, I will be posting tomorrow more then likely since I don't have to be at my brother's until 3, but to those of you with a couple of different families to visit and much running to do, I'd like to tell you to be happy and be safe now.

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