Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A holiday tradition with Erin Napier

Erin is always one of my go to girls for a guest post.  I adore her blog and how she logs the best thing that happens in her daily life.  I loved reading about how she and her family spend Christmas...I may have just discovered a few new traditions of my own :)

I start looking forward to Christmas really early every single year. By August, I'm rushing Halloween and by Thanksgiving we've been listening to Christmas music for 2 weeks. It's a good thing I married the Christmas king who would like to start celebrating in July if it were socially acceptable.

There's a nostalgia attached to Christmas that's so visceral—and I think it's because of the traditions we've been practicing that time of year since we were born. For me there are a few traditions our family has been doing for a long time, some for just a few years, but all equally special to me. They are as follows:

1. Daddy's going to sing Blue Christmas.
It's going to happen. When I was a baby, it was he, my grandfather and my uncle Danny singing a never ending loop of the Elvis Christmas classic (just the chorus, really). In the video from 1985, you can hear my mama in the background saying "do y'all know the other words? " as my grandfather was struggling to find the harmony tenor part, while my daddy rocked me in his arms and uncle Danny howls the "woohooohoohoo" background part. Now, Daddy, Ben and my brother Clark do a mighty fine version of their own.
2. We look at Christmas lights in the 1964 Pontiac Catalina.
We get as many people as possible crammed into daddy's first car that's roughly the size of a single wide trailer. We ride without heat and let the windows fog up as we drive through the nether regions of Jones County searching out the gaudiest (read: best) Christmas light displays.
3. We make Cat Crap Cookies.
Sounds gross, but it's not. I promise. The Christmas Ben and I met, my mama made him 30 of these chocolate peanut butter delights and he ate them all on his 4-hour drive home to north Mississippi. 
4. We'll shoot fireworks. And guns.
Not sure why, but at the Rasberry family Christmas gathering, we enjoy playing with explosives and firearms, even though none of the men in our family do any kind of hunting. They go in the backyard with pistols and shotguns and shoot ant spray cans, trees, coke cans, life preservers, whatever. Then we all go outside and shoot fireworks after dinner. It just feels right. 
5. We watch Christmas movies.
We make sure to watch The Holiday, Serendipity, It's a Wonderful Life and Love Actually every year.
We also try to find Christmas movies we've never seen before—like last year we watched a wonderful little movie called The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley McLaine when they were young. It's cheeky and funny and romantic and you MUST see it! 
6. We wait and wait and wait to open presents.   
Somehow, we always end up opening presents around 3 pm on Christmas Day. This became the case after my brother and I both got married. The thing is, the gift-giving is not a big deal for our family. As Clark and I became adults, we all stopped focusing on giving extravagant gifts and instead give simple, thoughtful ones. I'm so glad that for us it's not about the gifts. It's about being together for that most nostalgic day of the year, watching A Christmas Story on TBS, picking off the hot ham and turkey when mama's not looking, begging daddy not to wear that flannel fedora he likes to put on for holidays, and shooting each other with bottle rockets all in honor of baby Jesus's birth.
Happy Christmas, y'all!

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