Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Plans

Apparently what one is doing for Christmas is a subject much discussed up here in Jackson, MS. I don't ever remember answering the question "What are you doing for Christmas," as often in Pensacola as I do here. Oddly, that particular question is most often worded as "where are you going for Christmas this year?"

Now normally, I would think that it was worded that way because most of the folks I know up here know that I moved here just a bit over a year ago.

I would, if everyone else wasn't being asked the exact same question in the exact same way by... well almost everyone.

I have to say "almost" there because I rarely ask that question, and NEVER in that way. The reason for this is that because for me the concept of traveling at Christmas--especially with family in tow--just seems anathema to the entire concept (especially the secular concept) of Christmas.

Let's think about this. Who really wants to stick two, overactive and young children, plus all the attendant junk associated with them, and their Christmas, into a car and then drive 5 hours (or even 5 minutes for that matter) down the road to be at someone else's house for Christmas? Then they get to open up the cornucopia of things they received for said holiday, just in time to shove them back into the car for the return drive (and that's if you're lucky and you don't have to go elsewhere for the holiday; like a spouse's parent's house, or a grandparent's house). And this return drive is made just that much more fun because now you have all these opened gifts in the back of the vehicle which said kids now want to be playing with--not riding about in a car.

But apparently I'm in the minority by wanting my kids' Christmas to be associated with their home.

After all, my response when asked the question above is: "I'm opening presents with my kids at my house."

This inevitably gets me amazed stares. If I'm lucky.

Sometimes it gets me this kind of flabbergasted questioning on why I'm not torturing myself, and my kids, by dragging them to some other person's house.

Of course who I really feel bad for in this is my wife. She gets greeted with outright hostility when she, as the good wife she is, responds that we're staying home because it was the decision that her husband made for the family.

Apparently, in the past, she has gotten the most hostility from my family. When looking at hers, well her brother liked my idea so much that he enacted it at his own house, and while her mother wasn't thrilled with the concept she has accepted it readily enough.

But to be honest, when I first enacted it (and this was at my first son's first Christmas 5 years ago now) she wasn't exactly pleased with the situation either.

To be blunt, she hated it. She wanted to go to what she viewed as "home" for Christmas. Which meant going to wherever her mother was stationed at that particular year. I shudder at the thought of where I'd be if I had given into her that first year.

And I know that it's that concept, that desire to go "home" which drives people to load up their Christmas and take it somewhere else. I know that it's that concept which makes them ask that particular question, especially in that particular way.

The parents want to go home.

Which tells me that when all these parents shove their kids into cars and take them to their proverbial childhood home for Christmas they are happily ignoring the fact that by doing so, they are taking their child away from that child's home.

But again, I am apparently in the minority in wanting my kids to associate Christmas with their home. Because despite where, and with whom, I was raised, it is now my home as well.

Now, I know some may be wondering why, after five years of this policy I'm talking about it now?

I'm doing this now, because yesterday my wife came to me and finally thanked me for putting my foot down for this all those years ago--and keeping my foot down every year since. She thanked me for this, despite the fact that this is the first year ever that her and her mother won't be together on Christmas morning (her mom has come to our house the previous 4 years since I made the pronouncement as my take on it is: anyone is welcome, but we're not going anywhere).

Is she happy that she's not going to be with her mother? Of course not, but still she's happy that our kids are happy. That they are home (and by extension we are too) and they know that Christmas is a product of our home.

Which in turn makes me happy, because the old saying is true: home is where your heart is. Luckily for us, we don't have to travel to find it.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


December 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Stephen Wrighton said...


December 26, 2008 at 9:11 PM  

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