Thursday, December 22, 2011

the zombie takeover (Christmas in disguise)

My home & life have been taken over by two little annoyances lately. First, there's this nasty little cold that Bunny has contracted that's been bothering him for the past couple of weeks. Nothing too serious, but the cough has really been bugging him. Then, there is the fun annoyance of CHRISTMAS! And presents!

Some people may kind of hate me for this, but growing up in a non-religious home, Christmas really was always about two things: presents and food. Dinner (always turkey, like any good part-British family) with a million side dishes and amazing dessert. My momma's mashed potatoes, and dill carrots. My new favourite holiday dish is one made by Bunny's family, though.

It's also the only time of the year that I see my family on my mother's side. Now, it's a very small portion of family, but given some mental illnesses, it can be a very fraught and drama filled get together sometimes. I recall one Christmas I was told that I was Hitler incarnate. No joke. When I was younger it would also include a dinner with the other side of the family, although that hasn't happened in years. As a general rule, though, my family has always been non-religious, and so although there were "children's Bible stories" books growing up, and I can count on one hand the number of times I have set foot in a church. As I got older there was an acknowledgement that Christmas came about because of Jesus, but I really learned that from Charlie Brown. So, you know, not so much a religious connection.

Fact is, though, I enjoy Christmas. I love it. The most amazingly ritualized meal of the year, gifts (both giving and getting), getting to have Bailey's in my first coffee of the morning. Even the traditions that have fallen by the wayside, like smashing gingerbread houses with my cousins. Sitting around, having my cousin play Santa and waiting as we opened presents one at a time. Trying to get him to always make sure that I got the last present. Christmas presents are the only thing I'm ever patient about, all year.

I love choosing gifts, and wrapping things, and baking. All of it.

Here's the thing though. Since I met Bunny, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. Christmas has its own special magic, imbued specifically in our relationship with each other. It's our anniversary. Walking in to his mother's living room on Christmas Eve, locking eyes with him as he came up to greet me, feeling this mesmerizing, spellbound feeling come over me. The world changed in that moment, like doors were opening and begging me to climb through.

Staying up all night talking, outside our houses freezing as he smoked and I stood there smiling at him, my heart melting, with this huge weight of knowledge, this feeling that something miraculous was happening in my life. Thoughts running through my head, unbidden, an instinctual knowledge that it didn't matter if I was tired or cold, that something amazing was happening. That if I left, it would be the stupidest thing I had ever done.

So, I really have my own special meanings attached to Christmas. It was the day I met and fell in love with the love of my life, and that's something that not many people can say. It gives the holiday a special magic all of its very own, just for Bunny and I.

We're spending Christmas Eve this year with Bunny's extended family, doing their big dinner. It's a little overwhelming, given that I don't know everyone well, and I'm not great in group situations, but I'm excited. There are some people there that I am really excited to see, and I'm sure it'll be a great chance to get to know some people better. Plus, given that Bunny and I have only been engaged a few months, and haven't seen his family since it happened, we have a built-in conversation starter.

Of course, with that, comes letting other of my own traditions fall out. No spending hours Christmas Eve peeling chestnuts and watching White Christmas with my cousin. No last-minute wrapping most of my mother's presents. I don't even know if I'll be sleeping in my mother's house this year (depending on how things work out I believe our choices are a lumpy futon that puts me and Bunny in a lot of pain, his neice's twin bed, or separate but comfortable couches in separate houses).

All of that's ok, though. Bunny and I get to negotiate, try out a little bit of everything, and at the end of the day make the decisions that make us happiest.

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