Well, it happened. I knew it was coming I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. It was met with mixed emotions. Subtle changes in our attitude about decorating for Christmas had already happened. This year as we debated when to put up the decorations the thought crossed our minds as to whether we should put them up at all. I remember when my grandparents stopped having a tree…they decided that the ceramic one with the lights would be just fine and I thought, “How sad, they have that tiny tree, they don’t decorate, they are missing out on Christmas spirit.” Now I’m thinking they were also missing out on lugging all the stuff out of storage. Sorting through mouse eaten stockings, untangling lights and the drudgery of clean up.
This year that idea was inviting. But you know what happened that I knew was coming? Bob and I woke up on Christmas day to an empty house. No kids here. No breakfast to be made, no gifts to unwrap. Our stockings had been cleaned out the day before. Somehow I thought I would be sadder. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly trade it for the chaos of Christmas old but it was a peaceful departure from Christmases past. A new tradition?
Before you feel too sorry for us, we did have a couple of presents for each other and we met family for dinner later in the day but it was the first Christmas that we didn’t see any of our children. We are growing into the next phase of our lives. First it was no more Easter baskets, then it was no more Halloween costumes. Now this. I remember having boxes of decorations for each holiday and my boxes seem to be getting fewer and fewer. And I think I am okay with that.
To counterbalance the changes in Christmas we have started a new tradition. I think this was our third year. Each year there has been a new addition. According to Bob it is the best night of the year and I may have to agree with him.
There are about ten of us and we play a game called Celebrity Charades. It’s a combo of charades and Catch Phrase. We also have a shooting contest with Nerf guns. This year we added prizes. We eat pizza, drink beverages, have appetizers, often break things, terrorize dogs and kittens (nobody likes the noise the Nerf gun makes) and laugh.
I think the reason game night is so appealing for me is that there is absolutely no pressure. There are no presents to buy, no expectations to be met, food is ordered and the house hasn’t gotten too dirty from the Christmas Eve cleaning. It is not an obligatory visit for anyone. There is no rush to go to the next house.
Seasons change, new traditions are made. Out with the old, in with the new. As long as we have game night I think we can handle a quiet Christmas day.