Monday, December 23, 2013


Christmas Eve 1988. The Eldest's first Christmas at six months old. We had spent a long day with my family and the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes typical in Italian households.

I had decided when I had children, I didn't want them to have the kind of Christmas I had. Christmas Eve with my grandmother and aunt and her family (Ma's side). Christmas morning was hectic with opening of gifts, a rush to Mass and then back again to Grandma's and Auntie's for Christmas Day with side trips to visit Dad's two brothers  and sisters because they lived in the same area. Inevitably, there were tears among the cousins as tensions were high, toys got broken, and the crushing noise of screaming kids and adults.

I wanted a day where Himself and I could enjoy our home and children in peace and quiet. No running all over creation seeing relatives we saw once a week or more. Our home would be open to anyone who wanted to visit, but we were not budging out of the dollhouse.

I'm getting ready to put The Eldest down for the night. I'm also looking forward to my own long, Winter's nap. Himself has the video camera and wants to film the Christmas Eve tradition of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa. This was also not a tradition I grew up with.

I'm not sure if we didn't bother with milk and cookies because it wasn't part of our Italian heritage or because The Brother was six years my senior, the tradition was old hat. By the time I was seven years old, I had a healthy dose of a Christmas reality check so maybe we just didn't bother.

So pajamaed baby in my arms and a camera rolling in my face. Himself announces we have to put out milk and cookies for Santa. Ok. I'll be a good sport. I get a dish and put a couple of cookies on it. Go to the fridge, grab the gallon of milk, and pour a glass of milk. I'm looking foward to night, night Santa.

"Mama, you forgot something."

"What? There's milk and cookies." I couldn't quite keep the irritation out of my voice.

"You forgot the carrots."

"The carrots?"

"For the reindeer." Came the cheerful reply.

I'm tired. It's been a long day. I want to go to bed. Nevermind putting the baby to bed. I'm also not good at masking my feelings. Because I'm thinking carrots for the %#@$^&$* reindeer? You have got to be kidding. You got your milk, you got your damn cookies and, now, I have to prepare carrots for the &%%^$ reindeer?

Himself is really good at reading me.

"You don't have to cook the carrots."

With baby on hip I go to the fridge, take the bag of carrots, and plunk the bag next to the milk and cookies.

"Carrots. For the...[a pause] reindeer."


  1. I don't like running around on Christmas too. We don't do the seven fishes but we do a Lithuanian/Polish meatless tradition on Christmas Eve.
    Merry Christmas!!

  2. LOL. You gotta take care of the animals.

  3. Husband and I always felt the same way; we didn’t want our kids to have to go through the whole extended family mayhem. Didn’t always work out that way…….. But mostly it was nice and quiet at our house and the kids didn’t have to leave their new toys. Glad you fed the……reindeer! ;)

  4. We created an 'obligation free' Christmas tradition years ago. Have fun, make happy memories for the children, its what its all about after all. Himself always eats Santas mince pies anyhoo!