It's the day after Christmas and the MetroDad family is down here in sunny Palm Beach, spending the week with my parents. Their home down here was trashed by Hurricane Wilma so the Peanut has been having a blast climbing through the rubbage. As long as she doesn't chew on any rusted nails or lick some mold, we think she'll be ok.
It's strange being in Florida for the holidays. Aside from all the Christmas Palm trees, I've never been able to get over the sheer abundance of elderly people down here. Having grown up without any grandparents, I've always been a little mystified by the elderly. But down here in God's Waiting Room, I have the chance to overcome my fears on a near-hourly basis. I'm getting better (I think.) The only thing that really freaks me out is driving behind a giant Cadillac that looks as if it's being driven by a headless person. They really should make the elderly sit on phonebooks when they're driving.
Anyway...being neither a traditionally normal family nor a particularly religious one, we didn't have much to do on Christmas. I wish I could regale you with stories of going out hunting for geese, playing football in the snow with family, attending a beautiful midnight mass, or caroling with the neighbors. But like I said, we tend not to do too much on Christmas. Like any good Korean family, we searched out the best local steakhouse and celebrated Christmas over some fat-ass sirloins. We contemplated going to see a late showing of "Brokeback Mountain" ('cause nothing says Christmas like a good old-fashioned gay cowboy movie) but the times didn't work out. So we came back home, exchanged a few small presents, read for a little while and all crashed out early.
But despite my wisecracks and our family's lack of holiday tradition, I like to think of Christmas as being more of a day when we choose to be a little more spiritual about being together as a family. Because ever since the Peanut came into our lives, the entire family feels blessed. Having a beautifully healthy and happy baby is like Christmas every day. And while BossLady and I don't ever take that for granted, Christmas is the time when we really reflect on the blessings in our life. And despite the weirdly dysfunctional nature of spending Christmas with my parents, there are some things I'm starting to realize about how we celebrate the holidays that may have been lost on me when I was younger.
The one thing that is fairly redeeming about celebrating Christmas with my family is that it's not about presents. I hear stories about people rebelling against the materialistic nature of the holidays but this has never been a big thing in our family. I've mentioned before how it was fairly sad for me as a child to wake up on Christmas morning and have my folks hand me a check. But I've gotten over it now. We're just not a big gift-giving family. And you know what? Now that I'm older, I kind of like it that way. Don't get me wrong. As the Peanut gets older, I think it would be nice to give her the kind of Christmases that I never had...setting out cookies for Santa, putting stockings on the mantle, laying out presents under the tree and waking up early on Christmas to unwrap them. But for now, I'm glad we can keep all the Christmas hoopla to a minimum.
Now that the Peanut is around, Christmas and the holidays are all about family. It's about taking the time from our normal, busy lives to spend time with one another. And though my parents can drive me absolutely bonkers, when I see the joy in their eyes from spending time with the Peanut, I know that this is the best Christmas they've ever had. And in a way, I guess that's my Christmas present to them. Funny how things work out.
So from all of us to all of you, I hope you're all enjoying the holidays with your family. I hope that you're celebrating some much-cherished time together with your loved ones. I wish you all the best in your travels and hope you get to your destinations safely. And whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanzaa, let's be semi-serious here for a minute and take this moment to contemplate what the holidays are really truly about...
Pigging out and 3-day weekends!