We are safely at my in-laws place in *Not very popular midwestern state* in an exurb of *only large city in state*. We drove here Monday and Tuesday (Stayed overnight at a lovely motel in Bumblefuck, Ohio on Monday night), and Barkley came with us. He was actually really good in the car, although he went a little crazy with barking in the motel and our first night here- I think he was just confused and discombobulated a bit. The motel we stayed at in Ohio had a box of 'hunter's rags' at the front door, which I did not look too closely at.
Meanwhile there are SO many presents downstairs, and normally we open them on Christmas eve but this year my sister in law has kennel duty (she's a vet tech in training) on Christmas eve and won't be getting in until Christmas afternoon, so no presents until Christmas after dinner! Ahhh!
OK, am I like a 3 year old or what? Well, this IS only my third Christmas. :) B and I had a lot of fun wrapping presents yesterday..he wraps them so much better than me, mine also look like a 3 year old wrapped them. :) Seriously though, there's like a mountain of gifts downstairs and there's only 5 of us and the youngest (my SIL) is 23...although Barkley and my sister in law's dog (Penny, a beagle) also get gifts. We still havn't decorated the tree though, guess we will be doing that today. Tonight we have B's family traditional Christmas eve dinner which is made up entirely of appetizers, and tomorrow we are having a big prime rib dinner, followed by the gift opening of course. We all sit in a big circle and go around the circle each opening a gift one at a time until we run out.
Ooh and my mother in law also said we can have her old giant fake tree once we have a bigger place that it will actually fit into (it's too big for them to handle setting up every year anymore), and said I could pick through her ornaments and take a bunch home for our table-top tree- my father in law worked for hallmark for many years so she seriously has the best ornaments ever. :)
Meanwhile the people must not have much to do around here, because nearly every single house on the block is decked out in crazy lights...there's a house a couple of blocks away that has a crazy light show that is coordinated with music you can play on your radio (they are broadcasting it from their house), we drove by to visit the other night and there were like 20 cars just parked outside their house watching the show. :) Apparently they won an award for having the best christmas lights in the *only large city in not very popular midwestern state* metro area.
I was chatting with my brother's ex girlfriend today (we run in the same circles so are still friends even though they broke up like 5 years ago), and she was saying how she remembers when she was dating my brother how so NOT into holidays and family I was back then, and she seemed surprised I was so into christmas now. But the holiday experience is so different between my family and B's family (apart from the obvious, that I celebrated different holidays at my parent's). Holidays at my parent's house were always full of yelling and people fighting (always about religion and politics) and people saying racist/super-conservative things that made me want to throw up. Last time I went home to a family thing, around a year and a half ago, my Aunt spent the entire dinner trying to convince me that Obama was a muslim and how we can't have a "shvartza" as president (*vomit*). I mean it wasn't all bad, and people of my generation were generally nice and not judgmental/racist, and there wasn't a huge dramatic fight EVERY time we got together, but it happened on a fairly frequent basis.
Also ever since I was a teenager, going to family holidays meant being criticized for my religious/personal choices, usually openly in front of everyone. My grandma used to always say "IMPROVE" instead of goodbye when she was leaving, people used to stare at my piercings/hair/whatever and openly criticize me -I have 3 earrings in each ear and had an eyebrow ring for about 6 months a few years ago that I don't think anyone in my family ever got over. I also had dreadlocks for a year, which- you guessed it- led to more racist comments.
While at B's place, everyone gets along and is nice to each other and genuinely just enjoys each other's company and likes each other and acts like normal human beings. I love thanksgiving at his cousin's place too. Maybe it's cause I am new to the family and so they are on their best behavior- but I don't think that's it.
Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it!