how to have a perfectly normal christmas
Latch on to some other family! Really. I've done it for years and it's worked out great for me. Ok sure, you have to pick a good family, so lucky for me that I did. Oh yeah, and that they haven't kicked me to the curb (yet).
Christmas Eve brings the annual dinner-at-the-British-Pub. My buddy's family is Scottish (except for the wee part that's Irish) so beer and fried treats are just the way to celebrate. So my buddy & partner, and her mom/dad/brother/grandmother, and various hangers-on such as myself, we go eat pub food and beer at some ungodly early time like 5pm. There are baskets of fried potato things and malt vinegar passed around, fish & chips and chicken pies are favorite main dishes, and someone always gets something odd—usually it's me, because I like
steak and kidney pie, but this year my buddy's brother got the crazy thing: a sandwich made from two
battered & deep-fried bangers...a heart attack on a plate, basically.
The highlight of the night is when my buddy's mom hands out her little packages of shortbread. That stuff is hoarded like gold (or crack), it's so good and only made for holidays. My buddy's grandma, once again proving she is a better person than my own grandmothers, hands out packages to those of us who are hangers-on. Last year I got two pairs of winter socks—black and blue socks with little snowflakes on them. Damn right I wore those socks proudly, and always wear them to family-type gatherings. This year I got a pair of really warm fuzzy pastel socks for wearing around the house. They are very, very warm and I love them.
On Christmas Day I went over to my buddy's house and we all snacked on Typical Holiday Hors d'Oeuvres and then had Perfectly Normal Dinner Food followed by Normal Pumpkin Pie (I baked it in a new pie dish and the crust in the very center wasn't entirely baked through but no one cared). Games followed—previously I was disallowed from playing games with my buddy's partner and their kid, because I always won.
This year I was completely trounced in Monopoly and Stratego. In Monopoly, the kid actually managed to buy both Boardwalk and Park Place and
put hotels (not houses, hotels
) on both of them, before I could complete my own plan for world domination. I landed on Park Place when it had two houses on it, and had to turn over all my cash and sell back to the back 75% of my properties, but I fought back! My buddy's partner (gah, I really need names for these people) was in jail not once, not twice, but ten
times. Ten. When she got out, she landed on Boardwalk with a hotel, and went bankrupt. The kid and I kept playing, and I eventually landed on Boardwalk with a hotel as well...and that was that. In Stratego, which I had never played, I told the kid that he would win and win quickly—that is not a game for people with extremely poor short-term memory. He won twice in a half-hour timespan. It was sad.
There was some video game-playing and random TV-watching, and then I went home.
Totally Normal Christmas.