1. Happy Festivus. We celebrated by cleaning house, which is a feat of strength in itself. I’m pretty sure the grumbling by the Little Explorers counts as their opportunity for Airing of Grievances.
2. Today is also our British neighbor lady’s birthday. We rounded up the Little Explorers, The International Man of Intrigue tuned his guitar, and we walked down the street for birthday caroling, including, “We Wish You a Happy Birthday.” I was a little disappointed we didn’t get any figgy pudding in return—it seems like something British people should have lying around.
3. If you're friends with me on Facebook, we’ve done the “What’s your favorite Christmas song?” question. How about this one- what’s your favorite Christmas movie? I LOVE “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Typing the title, it takes all my power just to keep myself from typing quotes. I also love the movie “White Christmas.” We’re waiting until the day Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Bell, and Laura Ingalls Wilder can sing “Sisters” together, while Arthur Dent accompanies on the piano. Plus, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye aren’t hard on the eyes in that movie. Best thing? “White Christmas” is referenced in “Christmas Vacation” when Clark says, “Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”
4. Christmas in the military is weird. It’s a constant state of rolling with the punches. There are Christmas traditions, but you never know where or if they will even take place. When I was growing up, it was always the same. Midnight Mass, coming home to lots of snacks, and getting up to open presents at the crack of dawn. As we got older, we started opening our gifts on Christmas Eve. There were always mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls with powdered sugar icing taste like Christmas to me. On Christmas day, we’d spend time with my dad’s aunt’s family. We’d come home and eat the tamales his cousin made for dinner and wash them down with cinnamon rolls for dessert. In later years, one of the kid cousins started making kibbeh to honor her Lebanese half. Let me tell you, kibbeh and a tamale on a plate might sound weird, but it works. Now, halfway across the U.S. or more from our families, we have tried to create our own traditions. We ate Chinese on Christmas every year when we lived in California. That didn’t work after we moved away—nothing was open. The last three years have been measured chaos- one year of an empty house with a borrowed tree in California, and the next with an empty house and some home made decorations in Sri Lanka, both with bags packed, ready for a move around the world. Last year, I was in New York with a four pound Laura Ingalls Wilder, coaxing her to grow so she could get out of the NICU so we could go home to the rest of the family in Florida. So there is always something different. We try to keep The International Man of Intrigue’s family tradition of eating Mexican food and drinking margaritas on Christmas Eve, either before or after Mass. Santa always brings Legos, and underwear in stockings, and, no matter what, we do our best to be together, or at least be close to the ones we are with.
5. Happy Birthday, Jesus. What do you get a guy who is over 2,000 years old? (That one was written by the International Man of Intrigue, who is tired and ready for me to wrap this up so we can go to bed.)