Saturday, December 06, 2014

Football Counter-Programming #14

I had an idea for what to write earlier in the week. As is the usual occurrence, I had a clear idea and even some fairly clear ideas for the first few paragraphs of what I would write.

But as I sit here this morning, tasked with the duty of writing one of my last Football Counter-Programming posts, I can't recall any of what I might have planned. So now I am trying to figure out where to go with this day's post instead.

I guess I should start with an image search. Okay, go over to Google and type in the usual: "football fantasy nerds". Ignore scantily clad women, ignore offensive things, try to find something that is football-related and nerd-related. Wish I could reuse last week's image again, but that is against the rules I set for myself . . . hmmm.

Oh! This is a good one--and I haven't USED it yet.

Alright. Now that THAT bit of business is out of the way . . . what can I write about?

Hold on, I'll get some opinions from around the house.

Sarah, who is sitting nearby, studying for a geometry midterm suggests that I talk about family Christmas traditions. So I'll write up some stuff about that.

In my adult life, here in Ohio, our family traditions have always centered around travelling. Because all of our family members live several states away, we are the family that travels to meet up with everyone else year-to-year. And so that means we usually have our own family present-opening a few days before actual Christmas--usually on a Thursday or Friday prior to us leaving town on the weekend before Christmas week. We want the kids to have a chance to enjoy their gifts before they leave them behind for the car ride south. (This was especially important when they were young and were getting primarily toys. We wanted them to play with the toys ahead of travel.)

Then we would drive down to Georgia and split our time between various destinations for days at a time: Lynda's parents in north Georgia, my parents in south Georgia, Lynda's brother in east Georgia. In the 10 to 12 days that we are typically gone between December 20ish and January 1, we manage to see all of the immediate family: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and first cousins.

It can be somewhat exhausting, true--living out of suitcases for days, remembering to pack all of the gifts for various households and have them ready, always having somewhere else to be in a few days. But if we don't do it in December, it may be six more months (if we are lucky and available) before we might possibly see most of them again. And since I don't do a very good job of talking to anyone on the phone regularly, this is made even more important.

One of the bigger challenges with all of this December travel is that I feel that our holiday planning is even more compressed than most. Because we are on the road by the third week of December, we have a tight window to get our shopping done, have any holiday parties with our Ohio friends, and the like. (But since I don't know what other people's pressures are, I'm probably just projecting.)

But enough about travels. Everybody has December stressors. What do we do for fun?

Every year we go to the Zoo Wildlights Christmas displays. (I posted a few of those pictures from this year on my Facebook account a few weeks ago. Grace and Hannah were riding a camel in the dark.) That is always fun . . . and COLD. Hot chocolate is always a welcome addition to that event, as it frequently snows while we are there.

This year, we also visited the Franklin Park Conservatory with some friends from church. Linda and Jenny are unofficial godparents to all three of our girls and they love to shower Sarah, Grace, and Hannah with lots of gifts--some of which are aimed for the long car ride's southward. In the last few years, we've met at Culvers (home of Wisconsin's famous butterburgers) for a meal and to open gifts. The conservatory was decorated with lots of poinsettias and the usual plants and Chihuhly glass. There was also a display of gingerbread houses and choirs singing season hymns. Good times.

What else do we do? Well, let's see . . .

We almost always make sugar cookies, iced with lots of colorful frosting and in the traditional shapes. I also organize a food-based bacchanalia at work that I happily call Gluttonfest. And if the company is doing well, we might even have a holiday company party each December. When the kids were smaller, there was also a daycare Christmas party to attend.

There is always lots to do and never enough time to do it well enough. Unfortunately, we don't often (if ever) get to spend Christmas eve with our church family, but they get us almost every other feast day of the year.

But . .. what about you? What sort of traditions do you have year to year? Where do you go? What places and events do you look forward to?

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