For the third year in a row now, I spent Christmas with Brian's family. The first time we had only been dating about a month, and our relationship wasn't spoken of. I was simply a friend of Brian's. I didn't really know his sisters that well, his quiet dad made me nervous, and it was just awkward all around.
But the following year, I had gotten to know everybody really well and had lots more fun. And this year... this year I'm family. The Kesler traditions have become my traditions.
Every Christmas Eve we do the following:
- Brian and I arrive, and everybody complains that we are late and that they've been starving while waiting for us.
- A prayer is said, and we dive into the party food. Heaven forbid deviled eggs are forgotten. They are a must!
- We watch Brian's mom's favorite Christmas movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (where she always makes the argument that Rudolph being a "misfit" is an analogy of him being gay), followed by How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
- On a more spiritual note, we always sit around their German nativity set and read the story of Christ's birth. We sing Silent Night in both English and German and then write down a resolution (or gift to the baby Jesus) and put it into a special stocking. It's neat to see what we promised the previous year.
- Then there are presents to be opened. But only certain ones: the gift from the grandparents, the gift from your assigned sibling, and one gift from the parents. The last one is always a new set of pajamas, that you must wear to sleep that night. Ours were gray and blue this year.
This was the first Christmas Day that I've really spent with them. Normally we have to wake up really early to quickly unwrap presents before Brian has to get to work. He always worked on Christmas Day because of the holiday pay. But this year, we didn't have to be anywhere, so we slept in later, unwrapped the remaining presents at around nine o'clock (starting with the stockings, then the Santa gifts, then the rest) and had some pancakes. The rest of the day was spent lounging around watching movies and eating junk, before heading out to their Aunt Deb's house for dinner. While there we played a rousing game of Apples to Apples, although I don't think that's necessarily a tradition. The open-faced crab sandwiches we ate are, however, tradition. And a much-anticipated one at that.
What's more Christmasy than crab?