This year we went for a minimal chic Christmas.Well chic is opinable of course, as much as I liked my sparkling tights matching my dress.Minimal for sure instead.Just the six of us:four two legs and two four legs, here in Ireland.My mother didn’t miss the chance to point out that is the third Christmas in 44 years we don’t spend together.That clearly made me understand that my little trip to Italy of last week didn’t satisfy her,at all.
Since I was a child we always celebrated Christmas Eve.Christmas day we usually travelled up to the house in the mountain where we were staying until the sixth of January,and that was it.Having divorced parents I should have spent Christmas or New Year on rotation with each of them.This never happened as,to tell the true,my father never really revendicate his right to sacrifice New Year ‘s Eve or Christmas’ Eve to stay with his daughter instead of going partying.
Growing up things changed of course, but Christmas Eve was always the traditional dinner at my mom’s.Thing that suits even after I got married as my husband family celebrates on Christmas day.S. Stephen day was all dedicated to my grandparents and a brief visit to my father.Everybody was happy.The fact ,then,that neither me nor the travelling husband have never being religious kept everybody’s expectation low.
Things got complicated when the girls came along,the first born in particular.First and only grandchild that made even my father discover the concept of being a grandfather,in moderation!Christmas holidays became holidays on the road.Driving from place to place showing the children around and be blamed from everybody because not enough time was spent visiting.I came to wish to be able to step into Doctor Who phone booth and jump from the 24th to 26th/27th straight.Christmas became a time of stress,not to mention the burden of buying present to people I couldn’t care less because they were buying presents for me or the girls.
In the last few years things changed.I stopped buying presents for the ones I didn’t feel for.My father passed away and not having kept in touch with his wife spared me the obligation of the christmas visit.My father in law passed away too and,of course,as in every respectful family the opening of the will caused tensions .An other obligation was cut.It sounds harsh but our Christmas holidays in Italy became less frantic and more enjoyable.We started to stay less,we kept having Christmas Eve dinner at my parent’s(a tradition that I always liked and enjoyed ) and Christmas lunch with my grandparents. Before going back to Ireland,usually around the 27th,we also started to take advantage of free babysitting and please ourselves with a date in Venice.
After we moved to a bigger house and the girls got bigger we decided we wanted our own Christmas traditions,religious or not.The first year in the new house my parents came along as we had just moved for few weeks.I loved it.I loved to spend christmas in my own house and with my parents.The decision was made:we would have gone to Italy every second year for Christmas and on the year we would stay,my parents would have come over.Christmas after Christmas more peace and balance was restored.Even the relationship between my mother in law and both me and the traveling husband got better.Dangerously better,because more pressure is back.We are receiving invitation fir Christmas Day since summer time but,being the traveling husband an insensitive straight forward person,he keeps her at bay.
This year we should have gone to Italy but I didn’t want to.I wanted to stay home.I wanted a quiet Christmas with my family.Christmas day was brilliant,we unwrapped Santa’s presents and then,still in our pjs had breakfast taking our time.We indulge ourself reading the news with our coffees and leftover cake lifting our feet up on request to let the new remote control car pass.No radio needed as the just received soundmooze bracelets can be heard rapping here and there around the house.
The traveling husband played Gordon Ramsey and cooked a succulent lunch.If you ask me,the perfect christmas day.
About Christmas Eve,I am still not sure what to make of it.We all dressed up,had dinner in the sitting room ,opened few presents but there was something missing.I missed my parents actually,I didn’t expect it but i did.No drama,no istery over the food to be prepared to perfection.There was no snapping,no sarcastic jokes between mother an son in law.It was nearly boring…..too smooth to be Christmas Eve.Thankfully,the traveling husband who knows me well and he is not that insensitive as they say,saw that I was a bit lost.He found the way not to make me miss too much Christmas Eve at my mom’s:As tradition wants he cooked fish.As tradition wants I pretended to be fine with that and barely went through my dinner. I notoriously don’t like fish.But I like gamberetti cocktails with marie rose sauce.Unfortunately for the italians is too 80s.You won’t find it in the restaurant’s menu anymore and it is considered tacky even to be served at home.My mom,being a mom,push herself to the limit and on Christmas Eve prepares a small bowl of it for me.She graciously slide it in front of me with an apologetic gesture towards the other guests. Surprise Surprise,I have been prepared my bowl of gamberetti cocktail this year too.Only difference it has been served to me not with an apologetic gesture but with a big laugh and two forks to share.
Now i think i know what to make of the 2017 Christmas Eve:It was good even in four two legs and two four legs.
Families change and evolve but the love stay the same.