My family has a lot of Christmas traditions, and some of them can be rather strange to outsiders (read: Non-Woods). For example, on Christmas Eve when my father begins to set up the lights for the tree, he plugs in a tangled strand and then throws them haphazardly onto the tree and proudly declares that he's done. This happens every year, without fail.
Another one is the Starship Enterprise Rap. My mother has an electronic ornament for the tree that is a model of the Enterprise's Shuttlecraft. When you press a button on the bottom, Spock proclaims, "Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy holidays, live long, and prosper." We press the button repeatedly and at varying intervals to get something kind of like, "Shuttlecra-shutt-shuttle-shuttlecraf to enterprise-shuttlecraft-shuttle-shuttle craft to enterprise, shuttlecraft to enterprise. Spock here-shutt-" until my mom is nearly pulling out her hair and swears that if we break her ornament (a favorite) that we will most certainly die.
Decorating cookies, as my mom has already described, is a deeply creative endeavor. When my sisters and I were little we made fairly normal cookies that we would now consider boring. As we aged, our creations became more and more ridiculous until we had spreads of ninjas and amputees and bloody, arrow-riddled reindeer. My poor mother takes all this in stride, and we just don't leave those cookies out for Santa.
One of my favorites that my mother still keeps up is the Advent Calendars. Advent calendars are plastic mold sheets filled with 24 little chocolates (some years they taste more like chemicals than others, but that's part of the charm) that are boxed in a suitably decorative box with little perforated numbered windows. Every day starting on December first, you open a window and get a little chocolate. It's a great way to count down to Christmas Eve (the last chocolate you get) even though now that I'm older and busier around the holidays I usually forget to collect my little treat. At the end of the week I have a little handful of forgotten chocolates that I gathered all at once.
And, even though this will be my second Christmas on my own, my mom still got me an Advent Calendar this year.
Christmas has never been a terribly religious thing for me, though I don't begrudge others their beliefs or traditions. You just won't see me getting up at 6AM to go to church... I'll be heading downstairs for hot cocoa and warm, buttered babka as we settle in to open presents. I wonder who will win Christmas this year? (I won the year I made my father cry.)
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope that your weekend is wonderful and full of love and joy whether you celebrate this holiday or not. We are all blessed with family and friends, and this is as good a time as any to remind ourselves of that.
'Cause you don't have to be an angel
To sing harmony
And you don't have to be a child
To love a mystery
And you don't have to be a wise man
On bended knee
The heart of this Christmas is in you
~The Night Before Christmas