Friday, December 3, 2010

Cape Holiday Events

Ready or not, the Christmas season has arrived full tilt.  I still have one foot in the "not" category, but I'm coming around.  The Hanukkah folks are well into their 8 days of celebration, so I guess I should be glad for the few extra weeks at our disposal.  I'm in good shape with respect to shopping, but I'm having trouble getting into the decorating spirit.  I see that many of our Cape neighbors are ahead of me with respect to lights and trees.  I'm hoping by this weekend to catch up a little, at least with some preliminary decorating.  It will be another week before we bring home a tree.

For those of you with more shopping to do or looking for some cool locally crafted holiday items, check out the 28th Annual Bruin Holiday Craft Bazaar this weekend up at the high school.  It will be held on Saturday from 9:30 - 3 and supports Broadneck Athletics.  For those of you with young kids, you don't want to miss the annual Breakfast with Santa held in the Cape clubhouse.  This year's event will be on December 11th from 8:30 - 10:30, hosted by our very busy Strawberry Festival Committee.  I think they need to rename themselves since they do so much more than Strawberry Festival planning.  The registration form and information can be found in the November Caper online.

Back to tree trimming, we are in the "later" camp when it comes to putting up our tree.  Growing up, my family always bought and trimmed the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but my husband has never adopted that schedule.  It's all I can do to get him to bring the tree home by the middle of the month.  His argument is that the tree dries out too much by Christmas otherwise.  I've actually come around to this approach during our 17 years of marriage.  We try to get the tree up a couple of weeks before the 25th and then take it down on New Year's Day.  That gives us a solid 3 or 4 weeks to enjoy it, and by then, I'm ready to be done with all things Christmas.

One tree trimming tradition that I've frankly never understood is the Christmas Eve trimming.  I guess if that's how it's always been done in a family, then tradition must be upheld, but it's a little foreign to me.  The only pro I can come up with is that it gives a family something to do in that Xmas Eve downtime that can be tough to fill sometimes.  And then, I guess you're obligated to leave it up well past New Year's.  Again, once January 1st arrives, I want Christmas out of my life for the next 10 - 11 months, but that's just me.

As for this year, we are shooting for December 11th to put up our tree.  I think I'll be ready by then.  We've found in recent years what works best for us is to put up a small artificial tree in the basement and decorate it with all our goofiest ornaments - the ones the kids made in preschool and elementary school that are composed of bad photos and pasta, primarily - maybe the odd plastic spoon.  Then upstairs in the family room, we put up our live tree with the train around it.  The kids and I work inside on the trees while Dad works on the outside lights.  I am in charge of repairing any light strands that won't light.  Ugh...

When all is trimmed and lit, we settle down for a bowl of homemade chili, some hot drinks (cocoa for the kids and something more interesting for Mom and Dad who are in need of a stiff drink by this time), and our annual viewing of a true Christmas classic - no, not Miracle on 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life.  Our post-tree trimming movie tradition is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  It's truly therapeutic to watch the Griswolds navigate the holidays after our own day of fun mixed with frustration.  The movie never gets old and is always right on the mark.  Links to some of the classic scenes:

Where you gonna put a tree that big?

Kiss my a$$

Christmas Lights


Hap Hap Happy

Turkey Carving

Sorry, got carried away...

What are your tree trimming traditions?  Have you given up on live trees (solving the dried out tree problem)?  What about your other Xmas habits.  Does Santa leave gifts out in the open or does he wrap?  What's your Xmas Eve tradition (for us - sushi at Joss followed by Lights on the Bay, which is always a little lame - the lights, that is - but we do it anyway).  What's your signature Xmas cookie?  Eggnog, yum or yuck?  Anybody like fruitcake?  Anybody ever injured by one?  It's a whacky season, but you gotta love it.  Happy holidays!

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