Ah, the plight of the divorced child. The holidays mean hustle and bustle for everyone, but if you come from a so-called "broken family," it tends to be even crazier. In fact, I had a total of three Christmases this year, which while awesome, is also a heck of a lot of work.
Christmas #1 was actually on Christmas Eve. This evening is traditionally spent with my Dad, Grandmother, et al. opening gifts. However, as my brother and his wife would not be in town until actual Christmas Day, we decided to put off until the day after Christmas our gift opening. But since my stepsister and her husband were unavailable the day after Christmas, we opened gifts with Scott and Marin on Christmas Eve over at Grandma's.
Christmas #2 was Christmas Day. This day is always spent with my mother and brother, and this year Bill and Amanda got into town towards the late afternoon. So Mom and I hung out, watched White Christmas and got my house ready to host Christmas during the day. And tried to stay away from all the cookies I had made, but dear God, it was hard. Activate will-power now!
Bill and Amanda ended up arriving safe and sound along with their dog, Sir Issac Newton, and we spent the evening visiting, opening presents, and cooking dinner. On the menu was home-made pizza with ingredients from Trader Joe's (what? We're Jewish and Amanda was a vegetarian so I was not making a huge Christmas ham or roast or anything). It was my first time hosting Christmas, or really any major holiday occasion, and I think overall it went off without a hitch. As they say, proper planning prevents poor performance, and I had been busting my butt for over a month to make sure everything was done way in advance.
Christmas #3 was back to Grandma's for our traditional Christmas Eve activities that were this time held on the day after Christmas. We had a full house with my Uncle, Aunt, and cousin who were down from New Jersey, plus our usual crew. I like to say that the Riley family Christmas is something of an orgy of consumption, since we always have so much food and so many presents that it's kind of ridiculous. But with 10 people, you need a lot, right? I guess we are just good old-fashioned Americans who believe that more is more. Especially when it comes to hugging. And laughing.
After Christmas I managed to avoid the post-holiday depression by taking the week off from work (which was AWESOME) and trying to cram in as much quality time with my brother and other family as possible. Of course, all good things must end, and early New Years day he and Amanda packed up the car and the dog and headed back to Michigan, or as I like to call it, mitten-shaped purgatory.
So here we are: a new year and the beginning of a new decade. I turn 30 in less than a month (!!!) but don't plan on letting it get me down. As long as I have the emotional maturity of an 18 year old, I'll never really age, right?