|For many average American families, Christmas is a time for celebration. Cousins gather around the yule log, parents sing carols in matching reindeer sweaters, and grandparents sit at the head of the rich oak table. Notice, I never said my family was average.
Our Christmas starts December 26. Traditionally, however, we do open Santa's gifts on Christmas day, but the following morning we all pack into the Hyundai and drive off to Grandma Rachel's house. That's the first thing. My grandma's real name is Dorothy. One day she just decided she didn't like it and changed it on the spot. I asked one year if I could be called Crystal instead of plain old Kelsey but my mother said you had to be at least seventy for the rule to apply. Join AARP and you can get away with anything.
The road to Johnstown is incredibly twisty, steep, and, inevitably, snowy. Christmas wouldn't be complete without sliding on black ice. We just can't take the interstate, though. Takes much too long. No, we prefer to risk our lives to get there fifteen minutes earlier. Almost dying every year really puts the holiday cheer in you.
The actual dinner ordeal occurs at my aunt's house, but we stop at Grandma Rachel's house first. I'm not sure you could call it a house, however. When one thinks of a grandmother, they think of a caring, cookie-baking woman who loves hugs and knitting. No, mine lives on top of a bar. It's not shady or anything, good heavens no. We own it. Until a few years ago, I never found it odd that drunks knew me by name. Another perk of owning such a fine establishment. Grandma has a two foot tall artificial tree with presents that we open there. I usually get money, and an added treat this year: flannel sheets.
We make two trips and drive to my aunt's house where I entertain my two younger cousins until I escape to help "make dinner"-leftovers from yesterday that I reheat. Who wouldn't want to travel two hours for day-old turkey and gravy? Isn't that what Christmas is about?
Dinner is usually stalled by the wait for my uncle Lou. He's either at work (the bar, of course), or just plain late. My uncle has never been know for his tact. We eat. My grandmother complains that the food is too salty. We eat. My uncle steals all of the stuffing and drinks a little too much wine. We eat. We listen to my grandma complain to my aunt not to eat dessert since she is diabetic, and they fight. She cries. We open presents and smile for pictures like nothing has happened.
Finally, it is time for our tearful goodbyes. We hug and exchange good wishes. We drive home in worse conditions than on the way over and I hope we make it home alive. Yes, December 26th for me will always represent my second Christmas. The one with those people who are hard to be around, but easy to love. My family.
© Copyright 2007 Kelsey (UN: beans91 at Writing.Com).
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