Holiday Open Thread: CHEER EDITION

Will Ferrell as "Buddy" from Elf looking extremely excited
Will Ferrell as “Buddy” from Elf looking extremely excited

If you love this time of year, this is your thread for general chitchat. (If you hate the holidays, there’s a thread just for you.)

What you should know about comment moderation, in addition to general community rules:

  • I am grading final projects and traveling and seeing family & friends and not paying much attention to the blog.
  • Therefore, I’m closing questions for the time being, opening them again in the new year.
  • The spam trap eats perfectly good comments and no one knows why. I’ll fish ’em out when I can, but it might not be quick.

Wishing you a good Yule, good solstice, good Christmas, good transition into 2016.




83 thoughts on “Holiday Open Thread: CHEER EDITION

  1. I did such a good job coordinating my Christmases this year! Seriously, first stop at mom’s isn’t until 10:30, and she’s gonna have mimosas. 90 minutes there, then 90 minutes at my grandpa’s (not too long!), then 90 minutes at my dad’s (also not too long, plus we didn’t bother coordinating with the stepsiblings so maybe not 25 people in the townhouse at once) then an early Christmas dinner at my uncle’s ex wife’s house! I can sleep until 9 and I’ll be home by 7, and everyone gets a stop, and my siblings will make all the same stops as me, and my sister even has time for her boyfriend’s family! I’m really pleased about having taken the scheduling lead. Bless my girlfriend for just going with my family’s Christmas.

    Plus we’re doing Chinese food for Christmas Eve, and I’m excited for that too!

    And it’s my last unmarried Christmas! As of today it’s 100 days until I get married.

  2. When I got to work yesterday, my boss was handing out Santa hats (no pressure, though — legit). I was one of the staff who went for it, and coincidentally was wearing a red and black outfit that went very well with the hat. Santa’s helpful librarian! I finally figured out what to get my sister’s boyfriend for Xmas, too – and don’t have to rush on shipping because they will come visit us next week when they get back from spending Xmas with his family out of state.

  3. Also! Solstice present for me: my wife finished up her half of the questionnaire for our forthcoming homestudy. We will be in the adoption pool next year!

  4. Things I have enjoyed or been thankful for so far this festive season:

    The Mulled Mead (cherry mead, with a shot of honey liquer sunk in it) that was on offer at the Winter festival my generous employer kindly took a bunch of us to a couple of weeks ago.

    The surprise parcel of chutneys, cheeses, nibbly treats and cider my mum sent me at the weekend, because she knows the other half and I like to have a personal at-home Yule celebration for just us before we go to attend whichever family gathering we’re scheduled for that year.

    The explosion of exciting Wild Hunt symbolism that the Tumblr pagan (especially Lokean or Heathen) community (myself included!) has been getting excited over, and the great joy I had in sharing this with a fellow pagan IRL friend, who then proceeded to get incredibly excited when he put the pieces together and realised he’d been getting hints of the same thing himself without realising.

    The decision I made to spend a very small amount of money on a frivolity – a pair of pretty mulled wine/hot chocolate glasses that my other half and I have been using every night since we got them, for mulled drinks, for hot chocolate, for bedtime herbal tea. Because they make our evening drink suddenly feel like a special treat.

    The fact that my new employer is ridiculously generous to staff, and has spent the last month gradually ramping up the little surprises we’ve been getting, from outings to a surprise candy-cane on your desk when you come in, to raffles, to an office tree decorating competition.

    This year’s NOTN on Flight Rising, which has included some very cute pixel apparel items for me to put on my imaginary pixel dragons.

    My partner getting me a knitting bowl for my Yule gift.

    The slow boiling, gentle crush (which I have no intention or interest in acting on) I have on a lovely co-worker. I have been quietly enjoying the warm, giggly sensations she produces in me and I love having crushes that don’t come with any feeling or pressure to actually act on them. Because having a crush feels good.

    Looking forward to meeting my new, tiny youngest cousin in a couple of days.

    Are there problems in my life right now? Yes. Am I stressed about some things? Absolutely. Are some aspects of the holidays hard for me right now? Yes. But I feel immensely fortunate and privileged that this year I have had so much Nice. I haven’t always been able to say that. I feel really, really good about how this year is ending. And about how I hope next year will continue.

  5. We’re having some friends over for blueberry pancakes on Christmas morning and I’m really looking forward to it!

  6. I have eleven more hours of work before I have eleven DAYS of blessed, blessed freedom, with all of two obligations and a dinner out with friends at the end. I am STOKED. Also, my family listened to me this year and didn’t send me things I can’t use and can’t wear, and my grandma sent me a whole bunch of cat toys for the young mistress’s stocking.

  7. Last year I attempted to buy a “Tinsel Pig” from target to go with our delightful penguin. We use indoor-outdoor light up animals as a substitute for a Christmas tree. But anyways, last year target sold out of Tinsel Pigs really, really fast. This year when they set their Christmas stuff up before Halloween I made a lot of grumbling sounds but thought “maybe…” Readers, they had tinsel pigs and I have never grabbed something off a shelf so fast! We’re traveling for the holidays so there will be no presents under the tinsel critters this year, but just having them makes me so happy. (so does the turkey mum I bought at thanksgiving that is miraculously hanging in there)

    1. My husband has not gotten around to putting up the 8′ inflatable outdoor penguin this year – too much drama still with settling his mom and dad’s estate. I miss the penguin.

      1. oh, Goldie, if I wasn’t so far away, I’d come and inflate the penguin myself to say “Thanks” for your writing and to congratulate you both for hanging in there. x

        1. Aww, thanks, Lynda! We are waiting to see if the buyer of Sly and Doris’ house signed the closing papers this morning. It has been non-stop drama with that, too, with the buyer continuing to return with new demands and with a rather inexperienced realtor on our end*. Poor Primo is knackered.

          * Moral of that story is – Do not hire a part-time realtor, even if your friend recommends him. Hire a full-time, very experienced professional or you will live to regret it but it will be too late to do anything.

  8. I converted to Judaism this past year. This is the first year I’ve done Hanukkah, but since I live with my family, I don’t have to give up Christmas (at least, not yet). So, this year we’re combining holiday traditions from my Jewish partners family and mine. It’s exciting to see my family so on board for changing things up. We’re going to go see Star Wars on Christmas day and have Chinese food after opening presents in the morning. I’m considering the merits of baking something, too.

  9. I’m super excited about Christmas and my birthday, which is a few days after. I’m only at work tomorrow and Thursday (which might be a half day for everyone depending on workload) and then I’m off for 11 days, most of which I get to spend with my husband. We’re also having a mini party on Thursday at lunchtime, I’m taking home made gingerbread and cheese scones as well as some Quorn vegetarian sausage rolls. Decorations have been up for a couple of weeks, presents were wrapped and sorted last weekend and we’ve got who we’re seeing when sorted. Lots of good things have happened this year and I hope for even more good things for everyone in 2016!

    1. My birthday is only a few days away, too.

      Happy Birthday, fellow solstice-born reader!!

      My family as I grew up worked hard to make my birthday a little special, favorite food, a gift saved from the Xmas tree, etc.

      Happy Solstice, all !

  10. I moved in with my partner and my sis six weeks ago in a brand new city, and we’re doing holiday stuff! We have a tree from Centro de la Raza with a photograph of a tapir on top, a stuffed small grey shark, white lights and magenta glttery ornarments, and a bunch of presents underneath with silver leopard print wrapping paper. (Target.) We had a sweet Solstice celebration yesterday that involved staying warm and lighting candles inside a super rainy day during the day and going to the beach at sundown and offering fruit and making wishes for the new year, and we’re going to have some friends over on Xmas day for duck and other foods. I bought a pound of bacon from the place I like! IDK, Thankgiving somehow always makes me cry and remember my birth parents, but my inner kid is always gleeful as shit at Christmas.

    1. That tree sounds wonderful! I love animals on trees. My childhood christmas tree used to have a woodpecker on top, until my grandmother decided it was sacrilegious and bought us an angel (dad and I still snuck the woodpecker on though)

      1. I can’t commit to the same topper every year. This year it’s white and silver poinsettias with silver ribbon curls and some sprigs that look like ice drops. I love the woodpecker, though.

      2. Ours is topped by Vlad the Christmas Vulture (I would link to a photo but suspect that will get this stuck in the spam trap), who looks comically disapproving of the whole thing. He makes me giggle.

  11. I love Christmas because I can actually relax and not do anything for a week during my company’s shutdown. My husband and I are completely in sync on how to celebrate (which is nice, because otherwise, we agree on almost nothing): we don’t exchange gifts with each other, we eat what we want (beef tenderloin stuffed with blue cheese, cheese grits, and tiramisu), and we do not travel.

    Any gifts we exchange with family will be super low key and optional – I sent a care package from the Hawaiian restaurant to my landlocked sister in DC, but my mom and I agreed no gifts – I will go visit her in the spring.

    And no in-law gifts. His parents both died this summer and we will not have to pretend to like the Florida manatee they adopted for us or the Ceramic Cat of Many Colors or the green glass pear or the custom jigsaw puzzle of the map of our neighborhood or the framed photo of them glaring at the camera.

    (That photo, five years later or so, still resides face-down in a drawer in the dresser in the living room. That was where my husband put it, not me. Don’t judge me. When we went through their house looking for photos to put out at my MIL’s funeral, we found photos of my husband’s ex wife and photos of my ex sister in law and photos from 50 years ago and photos of the trees by the place where my husband’s sister used to live, but we did not find single photo of me, including any of the wedding photos that we sent to them – the wedding photos they complained did not contain them.)

    This is going to be a nice, relaxed, tiramisu-eating, movie-watching Christmas.

    1. Ok, I laughed out loud at that list of weird presents. Enjoy your delicious food and chill holiday!

    2. I’m HOPING the Florida manatee is some sort of donation thing (“You adopted a manatee! See it live in its natural habitat, thanks to YOU!”) instead of another glass or ceramic thing (or worse yet, a real manatee 😉 ).

  12. Spending this week at the coast with family and next week back at home relaxing without family (but hopefully with friends). Family all decided this was a “no gifts” year, which my parents will probably ignore for my sib and me, but that’s their lookout. I got everyone cards.

    I don’t have to be back at work until January, but I have plenty of things to catch up on in the meantime. This week is not turning out to be as productive as I’d hoped — big shock there — so next week is “head down, balls to the wall” so I hit the ground running in 2016.

  13. I get to hang with my other self (friends since we were toddlers) my best high school friends, my brother, my martial arts friends

    I think this is all good

  14. We moved this year to a much better living situation in an area that we like, with sane neighbors. And the new place is big enough to put up a real tree, one of my favorite Christmas things! IT SMELLS SO GOOD.

    Only one more work day, and then I don’t go back until January.

    My in-laws are awful, but are generally at their most well-behaved at Christmas, so we’ll go over there for a few hours and then come back to our own lovely new place. I don’t have to stay there! And if anyone needs a verbal smackdown, I’m starting to feel assertive enough to deliver it.

    We will be spending some time with two different toddlers whom I enjoy very much, and getting to see them be excited is SO FUN.

    A lovely cousin is having a family gathering at her house and she always remembers my food allergies and makes things I can eat. So much love and gratitude for that.

    My non-geeky family of origin asked me & spouse to go see Star Wars with them. I didn’t even have to use a Jedi mind trick!

  15. I love Christmas, every year. Some years take longer than others. A few days of caroling, and I’m usually there. My extended family all get along very well and our traditions – Christmas Eve small plates, Shrimpmas, dessert and family presents – mesh well with my immediate family traditions – Christmas Eve service singing, morning presents, fancy steak dinner. My mother died at Christmas several years ago, when my son was very small, and it concentrated my mind wonderfully. I had to consider all the Things that Must Be Done. Turns out, some were Important to me, some Could or Could Not Be Done, and some – not so much. This year, the cards are ready, some presents are wrapped, the tree is up and the rabbit (who views it as a Giant Magical Snack) has not eaten it. Everything else is gravy, or cake, really, since that’s next on the list. Prioritizing based on my needs was so liberating, and I know that each Christmas the list of Must Do Things may change. My family has never missed anything I didn’t do. And it only took me 40 years and an unexpected, emotional loss to figure it out. It’s all good.

  16. My parents figured out that I’m poly (I haven’t had a proper discussion about it with either of them yet, but I don’t bother to hide it, and I live with both my partners), and have officially invited both my partners to the christmas meals (brunch with mom, dinner with dad) this year. Always nice to be reminded that one thing both my parents do well is totally roll with almost anything any of us kids throw at them.
    Also my youngest sister (nearly in her mid-twenties), who is an opinionated loudmouth will be there with her new boyfriend, which means the family tradition of (honestly quite mild) sibling-baiting will be extra fun this year.

    I’ve also been invited to my potential-new-dom’s christmas eve gathering and I really enjoy his social group. At the halloween party I met a new friend and we spent a solid hour chatting about tropical fish breeding and genetics (she’ll be there too, yay). So this is shaping up to be an unusually awesome holiday season for me already.

  17. My parents figured out that I’m poly (I haven’t had a proper discussion about it with either of them yet, but I don’t bother to hide it, and I live with both my partners), and have officially invited both my partners to the christmas meals (brunch with mom, dinner with dad) this year. Always nice to be reminded that one thing both my parents do well is totally roll with almost anything any of us kids throw at them.
    Also my youngest sister (nearly in her mid-twenties), who is an opinionated loudmouth will be there with her new boyfriend, which means the family tradition of (honestly quite mild) sibling-baiting will be extra fun this year.

    I’ve also been invited to my potential-new-dom’s christmas eve gathering and I really enjoy his social group. At the halloween party I met a new friend and we spent a solid hour chatting about tropical fish breeding and genetics (she’ll be there too, yay). So this is shaping up to be an unusually awesome holiday season for me already.

    1. Uhm.. I totally know how wordpress works (mods please feel free to delete a copy, I messed up while logging in/forgetting my password and managed a double).oops.

  18. I have kittens attacking my tree on a regular basis. But I don’t even mind (too much) because kittens! It’s only us and the kids for Christmas, but that’s totally fine with me. Husband and I are in a pretty good place, shopping is done, kids are old enough to occupy themselves, we saw Star Wars yesterday, and kittens. Plus, we leave on Monday for a week of beach vacation with friends before the kids go back to school. And then I’m presenting at a conference in New Orleans in January.

  19. I had a small CHRIStmas (my name is Chris so i always emphasize that haha) party this past weekend with close friends at my house. There were 9 of us but it seemed like more because it was so lively with lots of laughter & good energy. It was with most of my closest friends, and we all felt like it was one of the most fun we’ve had at a party like, ever. Some people met fork the first time, but the majority of us had somewhat become a “group” over the past few months – brunches and concerts, etc. I had a s’mores bar, made this drink – rudolph’s tipsy spritzer (vodka, orange juice, sprite, maraschino cherry juice, lemon juice…pretty good!!) and had other drinks and snacks, we played cards against humanity, took pictures against a merry christmas banner with christmas props, we had a white elephant gift exchange.. and i handed out party favors. White elephant gifts were hilarious: I bought these brown “ugly bags” that had 50’s-looking cartoon women on them; and ended up with a “pooping pooches” calendar; someone bought an oversized flask (flaskzilla), etc… lots of good gifts! Everyone was like kids on christmas opening the party favors that I had put together, too. they were so excited! we’re all in our mid-late 20’s, so I think everyone was thrilled to receive party favors. the gift bags included mini liquor bottles, pop rocks, life savers, elf bandaids, christmas pencils/ erasers, and candy canes. everything went well, especially since I bought everything the day of. People were mixing each other drinks, helping me clean up and generally help out…we took shots of our mini vodkas and then ate pop rocks… there was shit everywhere and everyone was all over the place, but it was ongoing liveliness and laughter. Love when things come together like that. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas/etc!

  20. I’m a freelancer. After a few weeks of intense deadlines, I have almost no paid work left to do. Odds are good that I’ll be able to give myself the day off on Christmas.

    I’m Jewish by upbringing and atheist by belief, so it wouldn’t be the world’s worst tragedy to work through the holiday. Still, it’s nice to have an arbitrary excuse to slack sometimes.

  21. We’re getting ready to start our New Holiday Traditions as a Family: The Next Generation. Last year, my grandmother and the lynch pin of the holidays for decades, passed away and we were adrift. In addition, I got married and my only brother was engaged. Now he’s married too and it’s time to start a new set of traditions for the next wave of people (I also might be pregnant, so that next wave could be coming sooner than expected.) It’s exciting! It’s a wee bit melancholic? But that’s what the holidays have always been about, I guess.

    We’ll be loading up the car when I get off work and driving to my parents’ house today. And then we’ll go to the Christmas Eve service for the first time, ever (we are church-going Christians of the Methodist variety, but our holiday plans never included church after the big choral concert due to travel) and then we’ll have a traditional Christmas lunch and go see Star Wars on Boxing Day (that at least is a hold-over from earlier traditions). There’s been all sorts of negotiating back and forth (Are we all bringing our presents, even the ones to each other? Are we going to wait to open them until everyone is there since my brother and sister-in-law are splitting with her family? WILL THERE BE FOOTY PAJAMAS?????) I’ve always loved gift-giving, so Christmas is a highlight for me. We’ll see how it goes!

  22. EEEEP! I am so silly excited! I finish work at 1pm tomorrow and then i am off until after New Year!

    Tomorrow evening all my siblings and partners are descending on my mum’s house for our tranditional games and drinking fest. We are all staying over so xmas day will be full of fun and smiley people. I can’t wait to see everyone open their presents.

    Boxing day will be the clearing up and stealing leftovers to take home mission before spending a week with my SO before we have to go back to work. It’s my first Christmas with him so i’m mega super excited about that too.

  23. Whenever they run the clip of Will Farrell saying of Santa,”I know him!” it just cracks me up.

    Happy holidays, all, and for those in the northern hemisphere, the light is returning! Those of you in the south, maybe you welcome cooler weather?

    Anyway, we have a new top supervisor and he is giving us extra time off, the 24th and the 30th, unlike the boss before him, so that’s nice for all who work with me.

  24. Ahhh I can’t believe it but I’m actually excited about Christmas!
    -my little siblings are coming over today
    -Christmas Eve I fly out to see my long distance partner
    -we’re gonna go see the new Star Wars (which I’ve somehow avoided spoilers about!) and go out to dinner on Christmas
    -Partner has spent the last three weeks reorganizing/straightening up his house at my request
    -we’re not drinking this trip bc I haven’t been drinking and partner is super supportive

    1. Also, I’m cautiously hopeful for 2016. My PTSD seems to be actually getting better for the first time since it showed up and I’m hopefully not gonna move or take on any big projects all year.

      Also, my relationship with my partner is better and more settled than I imagined it could be. There’s too much in that simple statement to explain well so I’ll just say that I’m kneel and kiss the ground level of thankful.

    2. That’s one of the nice parts of my Christmas too– people in general have been SO NICE about Star Wars spoilers. Yay geek community!

  25. I am hyped for Christmas because I made a list of food items to get and make and I scored stuff off of the list and idk, it’s a small thing but I’ve been feeling in busy-prep mode and I’m excited for the pay-off. (food. food is nice I helped or something)

  26. All my shopping is done. The universe willing, I will be making SIX PIES today (3 apple, pumpkin, coconut cream, and lemon meringue.) I feel like I’m generally on top of things. My kids may not be getting everything they asked for for Christmas, but they are getting some awesome stuff they never even expected!

  27. After the most terrible first three quarters of a year in a long time, this year has pulled it out and is ending on a very high note. I have finally pulled out of the depression and now am happily trimming the tree and making fudge for people! Me from earlier this year is shocked at my motivation! I am so excited for the holidays this year. My brother is arriving tomorrow and I will see all my favorite people! Huzzah for feeling better! Happy Yuletide!

  28. We got a bunny for my son and my partner loves it so much. He fawns and dotes over it constantly. She really is a cute little thing. We just found out, however, about bunnies “taking offense” at things and realized we now have two alpha females in the house that demand my partner’s constant worship and acquiescence, and I love that little b*%$# so much for it. We will have this adorable merry war about who gets to sit next to him and who gets petted most and she clearly eyes me with envy and scorn. I have the pleasure of sticking out my tongue at her and saying “he loves me best” and she sticks her little booplesnoot tongue right back out at me while my partner moans about how it’s impossible to keep us both happy. It is the most fun I have ever had with a pet. I can’t wait for my son to meet her on Christmas morning.

  29. I love Xmas for the reason it is the one day I get to do whatever I want and feel no remorse.

    I can read crap, watch crap and eat crap and no living relative to say *Now why dya go do a thing like that?*

    I am an artist. I just scored a commission. Work is slow at Xmas so this is wonderful to be able to work away at it, while the city empties out. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, everybody’s gone!

    Big cities seem more obviously a vacuum at this time. More migratory types that go home to roost, leaving just a few of us hold-outs.

    My neighbourhood is Jewish-ish so the Chinese resto is packed. I like to find a Jewish mate to go to the moovies with and then catch some serious Dim Sum to enrich myself with the pure Montreal immigrant Xmas experience.

  30. (I’m not really sure which of the Xmas chats this belongs in because it’s a downer, but I figured the Christmas-loving crowd might be better at brainstorming this particular topic)

    I moved into a new flat at the start of the fall semester, and have casually interacted with my next-door neighbour occasionally. ‘Hi, have a nice day, the mail carrier left a package for you, etc.’ He’s a polite older man but I don’t really know him. Today he knocked on my door and said his wife died on Monday, they were married 61 years, and would I like anything from the store? I told him I was so sorry for his loss and he avoided eye contact, spoke about her for a bit, thanked me for my condolences and said he wanted me to know because we’re neighbours and neighbours look out for each other. Then he left for the corner store.

    I’d like to do something nice for him but I don’t know what. I don’t know what his plans, if any, are for Christmas but I fly out on Christmas day and I’m a broke grad student. My first instinct is to bake him something (it’s the influence of my Midwestern mother). Any other suggestions?

    1. I’m sorry to hear your bad news. I think your instinct to cook or bake him something is a sound one. (There’s a possibility that he has allergies or special dietary needs, but even when people can’t eat gift food themselves, they often appreciate the thought and share the food with somebody else.) Another nice thing to give to people is art; I make origami, and that’s a nice, compact, pretty gift. Or if you like to draw, you could draw him a picture; I feel like woodland holiday scenes are a safe subject matter. I expect that for any gift that you’re likely to give, it will show him that you care about him, and he will appreciate that.

      1. IF you are comfortable doing so, you could invite him over for tea, and ask for stories about past Christmases with his wife. Sometimes, listening to the good stories can be a lovely gift to give someone. My friend’s grandmother died this summer, and she’s having a hard time. I asked for stories and thought up ways that my friend could remember her grandmother during Christmas.

    2. I think baking is a great idea, like, a quick-bread (like pumpkin or banana or something) that’ll last for a bunch of servings (also I think quick-breads feel “healthier” while of course not being healthy at all but whatevs), or a casserole or something. Haha I am midwestern-raised too! But food is an appreciated thing, and he may feel really adrift. This is a really kind thing for you to do, it’s really nice to take the time and effort. I appreciate you and it’s not even for me. 🙂 Also when you have a couple minutes to hear the answer, you could ask him how he’s doing.

      1. Umm, I disagree. Banana and pumpkin? TOTALLY healthy. Just ignore the other ingredients, and you’re good to go!

  31. First Christmas in London! Boyfriend’s first Christmas away from his family! First Christmas with my sister in 10 years! I’ve worked really hard to make it special, and have gifts for everyone (under budget, largely handmade ❤ ), the food is planned, bought and prep has started. We're hosting a friend who would otherwise spend the holiday alone (not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not what they want). Boyfriend and I have started a Christmas tradition of buying each other boardgames for Christmas, and we'll be playing one tonight with a beer. Plus, we got cats. CATS.

  32. I am getting a puppy for Christmas! (Well, almost. I’m meeting an adult rescue dog a few days after Christmas, and if we get along, I’m going to adopt him.) I have wanted a dog for years, and this is the first time my living situation has been stable enough for me to feel comfortable actually getting a dog.

  33. We are not religious people, my family, but my mum is was raised Church of England and is super into, like, church Christmas music (there is probably a proper term for this, but I’m a heathen, sorry). When I was growing up and it was just her and me, we would go to whatever church was nearest for Christmas eve evening services, just for the singing. Now, every year on Christmas eve, we listen to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast from King’s College on the radio, while we prep stuff for Christmas dinner and I make the now traditional Christmas eve enchiladas. Though I have wailed out my holiday woes on the other thread, I look forward to listening to the radio with her, and to eating as much of the huge pan of enchiladas as I am able.

    1. Also I plan to introduce my parents to the joy and the glory that is “Mad Max: Fury Road” so there’s that.

  34. I’m working around the holidays (save for Christmas and New Year’s), but 1) my parents decided to make a practical but generous gift to me and 2) I intend to lock myself up and spend Christmas just writing, since we’re not super into celebrating these days, and can just do whatever we want. We’ll probably go out to a nice restaurant afterward, which is the present my dad requested from me, but otherwise, I’ll be grateful for the shortened workweek.

    I really need to write, though, given that PoC Destroy SF submission call…

  35. My mom finally learned what boundaries are! My parents are coming to my city for Christmas and they booked a hotel instead of insisting on staying at my tiny apartment! I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to spending time with them, but I am. It’s going to be so great. And they’re even respecting my request for no material gifts, sort of, by taking me grocery shopping instead of sending me crap I will never use!

  36. We’re moving a week after New Year’s, so the house is half packed, and I miss my books and my yarn. But the cats are calm about the whole thing and the new place will be super awesome in ways that I am over the moon excited about. Tomorrow, partner goes to work while I laze around until mid-afternoon, and then we get to go visit my parents for the weekend, and make the wonderful traditional Christmas Breakfast cookies. No homework, no work-work, no nothing but snuggle with my parents and partner and knit and read for three whole days. I can’t wait.

  37. This is a great Christmas! My husband just wrapped up his final pieces of dissertation work to complete his PhD, and we have nothing to do but relax together.

    It’s also been slow at work, so we’ve been marathoning Christmas movies. Hurray!

  38. My FWB moved in with his girlfriend this year, and when I mentioned that I was thinking of inviting people over for a low-key Christmas day of Chinese food and kung fu movies, she offered to host, as she has a bigger place than I do and a bigger TV! So I will be decamping for her place and a bunch of our friends will show up and wear sweatpants and jammies and we’ll watch Jet Li punch bad guys and eat delicious Chinese food, and then later she’s going to make brisket. And even though I’ll be on call for the day, I’m not on call all weekend, and hopefully it will be quiet this year! (hopefully not jinxing it!)

  39. I’m having a delightful Christmas at home with my roommate. Best Boyfriend is off doing family things, sadly. I miss him but he’ll be back Sunday, and then our anniversary is Friday next so I’m looking forward to that, obviously. 🙂

  40. I’m not really celebrating Christmas on the day itself. I had a tiny party earlier in the month, and I am pet sitting until early January. So, I have three furry animals, three chickens and a fish to keep me company while I read, play video games, cook, or nap. Well, maybe only the two dogs and the cat will keep me company. It’s relaxing so far, and I am hoping for no emergencies.

  41. Things this Christmas has over last year:

    – Last year I was convinced I would never be able to transition. This year, I’m one GIC appointment away from my testosterone prescription.
    – I have a shiny adorable new beau who I’m spending New Year’s with and meeting their family
    – I’ve just finished my first term of drama school and I loved it, so I can feel like an actual competent human when I talk to relatives instead of apologising for myself
    – Spending Christmas at home feels extra special because I’ve been living away from home for the first time ever
    – I’ve discovered the joys of making fruit curd and it is delicious and makes me look really impressive and domestic

    1. How do you make fruit curd? I’ve had lemon curd and passion fruit curd, but have no idea how to make it.

      1. I have the easiest ever microwave recipe for lemon curd: In a LARGE microwave-safe glass bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs (at room temperature) and the juice and finely grated rind of 2 large lemons. Melt 60g unsalted butter on high for 90 sec in a small bowl, then add the butter to the lemon mixture. Place the large bowl in the microwave and cook the mixture on high for 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, or until lemon curd thickens. Pour into sterilised and warmed jars. Makes 3 x 250mL jars. Store in the fridge up to 1 month (trust me, it won’t last that long).

  42. Growing up, we always had Christmas with my mom’s side of the family (for reasons). I’m out of college, and the last few years, Christmas was always with Dad’s family (for other reasons). It’s been fun (I’ve especially enjoyed Unitarian Universalist Christmas Eve services), but Dad!Family’s traditions aren’t the traditions I grew up with.

    Now I’m at my maternal grandparents house, with Mom!Family again. There are a dozen people and 20 conversations (actually, that was also true at Dad’s sister’s house…). The Elvis Christmas CD is playing in the background, there’s a good 2 inches of snow outside, and it feels like Christmas of my childhood.

  43. My dear spouse has taken the two older children to his parents’ house for five days and I am home with the sweet adorable baby, baking. It’s so peaceful! Everything smells delightfully of spruce! (Well, everyone else’s yards. I’m Jewish.). I saw a friend and will be going to see another! Also, it reminds me that I would miss my children if they were gone any longer, and that they do add joy to my life.

  44. Okay, on the other thread I posted about the things that are LOUSY with this Christmas (one of the worst Decembers ever), but I had a wonderful Christmas Eve church service last night; I am Christian, and love traditional carols. A lot of churches are trying out these modern songs because the worship leaders are tired of Christmas carols, but my church has what I consider the right idea — most of the service was a vehicle for singing Christmas carols together, with two short messages (one for kids, one for adults) and Communion thrown in, finishing with everyone holding up their Christmas candles and singing. I was depressed going in (my parents were supposed to be there but couldn’t make it due to weather, one of the lousy things), but the church was filled with people I love and who love me, and by the end I was much happier. (Also, I have a couple of kids there that I babysit and one of them was my Christmas outfit twin and this made me inordinately happy.) And hopefully today I will get to see my parents, since the weather has in theory cleared up a bit. And then tomorrow I get to go see my extended family for almost a week, which is one of my favorite weeks of the year.

  45. I’m happy to be hosting a VERY small Christmas this year, just me, spouse, our two small kids, my sister and my mother in law. Everyone else made plans of their own with other families / in-laws and I am estatic to not have to feel guilty about only having a few people over. And I don’t have to worry about not wanting to get dressed and leave the house if I don’t feel like it. Also El Niño is bringing us April weather so I can get out for a walk and fresh air if I NEED to and my seasonal depression has been SO much better with being able to spend time outside during the daylight hours this month!

  46. You guys! I posted in the Blue Christmas thread because it’s been a hard season.

    Today I had two friends over. The new friend left for another party (that’s great!). The remaining friend and I were watching X-Files videos after dinner and debating our next video when I heard a faint doorbell and got a text: Come to the door. The mutual friend who introduced remaining friend to me surprised us and by the end they’d decided that for my divorce finalization (date TBD) they’re getting me an explicit cake and taking me to the strip club. Laugh till I cry. Best. Overjoyed beyond expectation.

  47. Both Christmases for both sides of the family were really nice. And now they’re both over, and I have the regular weekend to clean my place, which really needs it; I was home just to cook and sleep, and to do my regular chores and to decompress with the kitties and music. And I think everyone really like the gifts I gave them. We all went small and practical this year, so it was low key. Good to go, and then good to come home and not go to any celebrations for a while.

  48. I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas at all because I was going to be alone and there’s all sorts of messy stuff going on in my life at the moment, but a friend from work invited me to join her family for lunch on Christmas day. I rang those members of my family that I wanted to speak to before heading off, then switched my phone off for the rest of the day. After lunch everyone paired off for a good natured competition shooting hoops in the back yard (I’m in Oz, so it’s summer). The day was entirely drama-free and it was one of the best Christmases I’ve had in years.

  49. I had a really good Christmas! People liked the gifts I bought them, and I had a very nice time with friends. 🙂

    The last few years had been bad for family reasons, maybe looking forever back. I think this was the first year that I didn’t allow family concerns in at all, and made sure I’d have lots of time with friends, and that coping ahead worked out really really wonderfully.

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