Creatures of Habit

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We’ve had the same holiday routine since practically 1845. OK, maybe not quite that long, but close.

I usually fly in around Dec. 15, mainly because a) I work from home and my computer is just as functional in Tennessee as it is in California and b) I want to avoid the bulk of holiday travel traffic. (Also, because Mom, Kari and I took a whirlwind trip down to Orlando to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but more on that another day.) The following week is filled with present wrapping (me), napping (Mom) and watching movies galore (all of us). In fact, this is pretty representative of how we look the majority of time we’re in Tullahoma:

Four days before Christmas, my sister always has a party for her friends. Three days prior used to be my night, but none of my friends come back home for Christmas anymore—in-laws, babies, living 10,000 miles away in Japan, the like—so we replaced my party with Garth this year. Two days before is my mom’s “stitch ‘n bitch” party, which the same group of couples have been attending since I was a wee munchkin. This year, that included a book signing (my first! ha), as Mom gave them all copies of my new book in lieu of their regular gifts. Lucky them. My granddad told SVV that one thing he’d have to get used to being a frequent visitor to the South is all the parties. I’d have to say I agree: There’s one thing my hometown does particularly well, and that’s throw a festive shindig and drink copious amounts of George Dickel.

Christmas Eve, however, is always my favorite. We lounge around all day—some years baking, this time just being lazy and not putting on real clothes until 5pm—then head to church early evening for the Christmas Eve service at King’s Cross Church. After that, we go to my parent’s friends’ Linda and Busch’s house for a party, then to our former neighbors’ Beverley and Joe’s house to visit with their family. Then it’s back home for a viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life (and, I’ll be honest, this year the finale of The Sing-Off) before it’s time for bed.

The big difference this year from previous Christmases was that we woke up to this:

Granted it’s more a dusting of dandruff than an actual snow, but I’ll take it any way I can get it. It was my first White Christmas, after all, in nearly 28 years!

OnΒ Christmas morning, we get up around 9am, shower, then descend downstairs where we start off by opening stockings.

Or rather, first we come downstairs and Mom makes us take the same Christmas morning photo on the stairs that we’ve done since I was born. Kari and I always had a new set of matching Christmas pajamas each year, so Mom decided to reinstate that trend this year. SVV was a good sport about it, though I’m sure that smile is just a ruse.

When we went to see what Santa had left in our stockings, we found that one family member really racked up this year: Ella! Granted she shared a stocking with her mom, Katey, but have you ever seen a dog with a bigger loot than this? Santa had to leave half of her gifts on the bannister, as the stocking wouldn’t hold them all!

After stockings, we eat breakfast and then return to the living room for the piece de la resistance: presents! My family goes all out on Christmas, and SVV and I walked away with quite a bounty. Fancy new Bluetooth headsets so we stop getting cell phone tickets, clothes and a top-end Moxi DVR for both of us; more clothes, books, gift cards, cash and rain boots for me; flying lessons, golf shirts, a puffy jacket and a new putter for him.

Speaking of which, it’s nice that our small family is slowly growing, from a party of five to a party of seven (plus six dogs), thanks to the addition of SVV in 2005Β and the newest member, Richard, as of this past year. He drove nine hours from Virginia in the snow on Christmas day to make it to our home just past midnight.

And let’s not forget this little girl and her first Christmas!

After we’ve done all the unwrapping our hands were capable of and settle into a candy-induced stupor, we retreat to the bonus room to watch Elf and Love Actually until our next-door neighbors—our “other family” for 25 years now, the Bratchers—call, at which point we cross the lawn to their house to celebrate with them. This extended family of sorts has also grown, from just the four of us “kids”—Kari, me, Jimmy and Diana…

…to a full-on posse.

And this year, Santa even dropped by to pay us all a visit!

Our holidays aren’t over yet either, as we’re leaving tomorrow night for Memphis to see my cousin’s new baby, Margaret, and celebrate with my mom’s side of the family. I love it: a holiday that just keeps on giving!

How about the lot of you? What are your traditions? Do you, like us, do things in the exact same order, the exact same way, year after year?

*****

Some further snapshots of our weekend:

In a turn of cinematic excellence, K-Oz reprising the role of Max the Dog in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

A boy Maltese in a skirt or Superdog? You decide.

Ella in an elf tutu.

The Littlest Angel.

Showing one of my adopted nieces, Katelyn, how to work a camera.

Katelyn modeling her Christmas present from us (the panda hat) while pushing around Big and Lil Minnie in her baby stroller.

Mason the Speedster racing around the house via his new Christmas wheels.

Fresh out of the oven: my other “niece,” Jacy Kate.

COMMENTS
  • December 27, 2010

    Look at you and your book!

    No real traditions here, just hang around, watch A Christmas Story, drink champagne, and eat eat eat.

    Next year I’m sure will be the year grandparents and everyone flock to us, so it was nice to have the holiday ALONE for the last time ever.

    • December 27, 2010
      Kristin

      Oooh girl, I don’t blame you. No quiet Christmases in your future after this year! But think of all the fun you’ll get to have playing Santa!

  • December 27, 2010
    Katie

    Those are some fantastic traditions, thank you for sharing! It looks like you had a blast! Happy Holidays =)
    P.S. – What a nice surprise to see Richard pop up again lol!

    • December 27, 2010
      Kristin

      Thanks, Katie! And I hope Richard will be popping up here a whole lot in the future… πŸ˜‰

      In fact, part of his Christmas present to me was a jump drive full of guest blog posts and photos from Botswana!

  • December 27, 2010

    We don’t have any real set traditions, just getting together. It’s lovely.

    P.S. Thanks for my Owl Post note! I was SO EXCITED!

    • December 27, 2010
      Kristin

      I’m so glad your owl made it to you amid the snow in the East and the monsoons in the West! πŸ˜‰

  • December 27, 2010

    What a joyous time!!! Must have been extra sweet since it was your first Xmas being a wifey! Congrats on the new book! Merry belated Xmas!!!!!!!!!

  • December 27, 2010

    Maltese overload! Must be so much fun to have them all play together. And what great pictures of your beautiful family! Your new book looks great and congrats! Merry Christmas!
    BTW- I’ve been waiting to see your new design and it looks GREAT!

    • December 28, 2010
      Kristin

      Thanks, Danee! The Maltese playtime in this house is INSANE at the moment–Ella and her mom, Katey, literally play from the time they wake up until I “let them” go to bed. Darcy would have such a good time at the Luna household =)

  • December 28, 2010

    Bax has the reindeer outfit too!

    • December 28, 2010
      Kristin

      I bet he doesn’t look as ashamed when he wears it as K-Oz does!

  • December 28, 2010

    It looks like you had a beautiful Christmas. I just did a post about the Christmas I spent in France ten (!) years ago now, and another post on this year’s Colorado Christmas. Since I just got married, we’re mixing in new traditions with old ones. If you stop by my blog, feel free to leave a link to your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  • December 28, 2010

    My family has also been doing the same Christmas routine since I was a child – stockings, coffee, lunch, presents – Christmas is an all day affair. I love the comfort of doing the same thing even though I’ve been away from home now for almost 10 years!

  • December 28, 2010

    1) Your site looks awesome and I should have told you that sooner. I’m a bad person.

    2) I am thrilled to see that 80% of your picture involve pajamas. I don’t know how this holiday can be celebrated in anything else. Perhaps you should let me be a Luna? I’ll make southern biscuits since and everything πŸ˜‰

    Merry Christmas!

    • December 28, 2010
      Kristin

      Sarah, I think you would make an excellent Luna, and we would surely welcome someone to cook for us =) I can’t tell you the last time I actually dried and styled my hair, let alone put on make-up…

      And I would fit into the Jackson clan seamlessly, seeing as I can down cookies like nobody’s business! Shall we share?

  • December 28, 2010
    SVV

    I always look really tired in Christmas pictures. Think it’s from all the sleeping in, perhaps?

    • December 28, 2010
      Kristin

      I always look really tired when I don’t wear eye makeup. Self tip: Start wearing eye makeup. Daily.

  • December 28, 2010

    I felt all x’massy again just reading this post and looking at all those pictures. Happy times indeed. We(cousins, aunts, uncles, the whole tribe) used to meet up at my gran’s and it was always about chaos, presents and food.

    Enjoy the rest of your holidays.

    P.S. It’s good to know that there are others who were in their PJ’s for a while on Christmas day. Mine didn’t look that festive though. πŸ™

    • January 5, 2011
      Kristin

      Kavita, I am in my pajamas 24/7 when I go home to visit Tennessee. It’s not just Christmas day…strike that, I work from home, I’m USUALLY in pajamas!

  • December 28, 2010

    Aw, that looks like a fun Christmas, we do pretty much the same thing as you guys (stockings, pyjamas, presents, Elf and Love Actually) and we also had a white Christmas in rural Warwickshire, right in the heart of England. However there were no cute white puppies in my house, something I need to sort out for next year! :0)
    Happy Christmas to all of you!

  • December 28, 2010

    That last picture of you and SVV is so sweet!
    And look at you all fancy pants with your book! Congrats!

  • December 29, 2010

    I’ll be blunt in saying, I’ve never liked small dogs, even as a child I liked big dogs. Seeing allllllll those little white dogs makes me *shiver* (LOL), but I have to say, your little furball Ella, is the coolest one of them all, you can tell by her face, her eyes, you’ve got the best one in the pack πŸ™‚ Our Christmas is usually a non-event, with my boyfriend we never know if we’ll be home or flying high in the sky, if work calls, we will fly πŸ™‚ Happy New Year.

  • December 29, 2010

    Funny, my mom got us all pajamas too – except they were tailored in pakistan for each of us! That was okay for the pants, but the tops were way old-fashioned looking and I’ll probably “lose” mine. πŸ™‚

    • January 5, 2011
      Kristin

      Tailored in Pakistan? Those are some fancy Christmas pajamas! I’m going to tell my mom she needs to improve her efforts =)

  • December 29, 2010

    Kristin,

    I grew up in California but have lived in Nashville for the last four years. A few months ago, I left on the biggest adventure of my life to travel around New Zealand for a year. I was so bummed out when I found out that I missed my first ever white Christmas!

    My favorite Christmas traditions are making spritz cookies with my family and watching my little sister read “The Sweet Smells of Christmas,” a scratch-n-sniff book. Unfortunately, I had to settle for watching it on Skype this year!

    I think I’d like to meet the “Littlest Angel” in your family some day.

    By the way, your blog helped inspire me to travel and take pictures and blog about it, so thank you :).

    Cheers,

    Kevin

    • January 5, 2011
      Kristin

      Kevin: That is so cool that your off exploring New Zealand, and I’m happy to have been a bit of inspiration! I hope you’re having (or had) a blast over there. It’s truly one of my favorite countries, and I hope to be back soon. You didn’t miss a whole lot by way of snow in Tennessee–it was barely enough to scrape together a snowball!

      (And yes, that Littlest Angel is pretty darn cute, I’ll give you that!)

  • December 29, 2010

    Beautiful pictures, I really like!

  • December 30, 2010

    Christmas Eve is always at mom’s where we open all gifts and stockings and eat all sorts of appetizers and sweets and watch A Christmas Story. Christmas Day, I make Panettone french toast and then is usually Christmas with my husband’s family in Pasadena and his mom makes them gumbo.

    We have a list of Christmas movies that we work through at some point over the course of Christmas week.

    I wanted to have a white trash gingerbread party (gingerbread houses made with graham crackers and canned icing) but everyone’s schedules were too conflicting this year and we had to make time to bake Christmas cookies and go to Santa’s Wonderland with one of my nephews. We also went to see a house that has a crazy light display done up to music.

  • December 30, 2010

    I’ll have to check out your book — I laughed at the two reviews on Amazon. Those names seem oddly familiar.

    Your traditions sound like so much fun. I’d love to spend that much time at home, but our traditions are kind of molded around when I’m actually off of work. I always catch midnight mass wherever I happen to be, and my family and I open gifts on Christmas morning. This was the first year the Modern Love Machine joined us, but he fit in perfectly — I guess it’s a good thing I’m marrying him.

    Have a safe trip back to SFC!

    • January 5, 2011
      Kristin

      B: My mom gave all of her friends copies of my book for Christmas and asked them to review it on Amazon, which is HILARIOUS as I don’t get royalties or any sort of benefit over it selling. But hey! If they want to give me a good grade, let them have at it =)

  • December 30, 2010

    This just gives me the warm fuzzies! You have a beautiful family with so many great traditions (and Maltises!!!), thanks for sharing! Belated Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year!

  • December 30, 2010

    Seems like you have a big family christmas! Glad it was great! Happy new year!

  • December 31, 2010

    I love that the dogs in your family get gifts, too. Iggy gets more gifts than I do sometimes and it’s just endlessly amusing to me.

    So glad it was an awesome (white!) Christmas.

  • December 31, 2010

    My family is from Louisiana. I live in CA and my brother in MN. My mother decided we should have a white Christmas so we all flew up to MN for a week. It was our first not being in LA. It forced us to really be together and enjoy without friends, extended family etc. It was amazing and we have decided to do it more often.
    We still watch A Christmas Story and National Lampoons every Christmas though. πŸ™‚

    • January 5, 2011
      Kristin

      Having a Christmas in Minnesota sounds to me like the epitome of your all-American Christmas. I’ve never spent Christmas anywhere but Tennessee (other than one fluke year in Austria), but I think a proper snow up north in the Midwest sounds divine!

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  • November 5, 2016

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  • November 15, 2016

    Next up on the MSM Network: an article about why white moms are superior to black and Hispanic moms.Nah, just kidding. White kids only do better thanks to racism.

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