Deck the halls with boughs of sobbing

So I bought a tree today.

Go me.

I got it at Woolworths, and it's 90 inches high and cost 4 quid. I carried it the 1.6 miles to my house in a huge shopping bag. I set it up on my nightstand in front of my bedroom window, so the neighbors will see that I have the Spirit of Christmas. I've put a cream-colored fleece throw from IKEA under it, and I have a box of 100 clear lights (4 quid, because they like to shaft you on lights over here) to put on. I also bought some of that pretty silver star twisty stuff at IKEA, and maybe I'll make some paper snowflakes for decoration.

I think it will be quite presentable.

Only I sort of want to crawl into bed and start bawling and maybe never come out until Christmas is over and done with.

I wish I could blame this on hormones like Savvymom could, but my good friend Yasmin actually regulates those for me, so no go there. What it comes down to is that even though I am a big grown-up independent woman of 26, this will be my first Christmas without my family. I know that there's a first time for everyone, but I didn't realize it would hit me so hard. I had really good reasons when I decided that Christmas wasn't a good time to fly home, but now I'm having a hard time remembering what they were.

So here are the things I'll miss:

1. Having a real Christmas tree--the kind that smells. (Of course, if it's an Alaskan Christmas tree then it was already frozen and dead before it entered the house, so by the day of Christmas you're pretty much wading through pine needles.)
2. My parents' dog Gabby. Because dogs are great, see? They got her when I was in college, but she remembers me every year and sleeps in my bed.
3. Fires in the fireplace.
4. The Alabama Christmas album. I have no idea why it is part of our Christmas tradition since we don't actually like Alabama or country music, but it just is.
5. Watching all the classic Christmas movies like It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
6. The Christmas Luau. This became a tradition after my parents started going to Hawaii. Mom makes Kahlua pork and Maui onion chicken and roasts fresh pineapple and we crank up the thermostat and put on leis and shell necklaces and lava lavas and listen to Hawaiian music while there are 4 feet of snow outside.
7. Watching Pride and Prejudice (or Horatio Hornblower if we're feeling swashbuckly) while munching off a 2-lb wheel of brie from Costco.
8. Christmas Eve Dinner: prime rib, horseradish sauce, Alaska king crab, stuffed mushrooms, rolls, Schwepps Raspberry Ginger Ale, cheeseball, the good china which I am inheriting . . .
9. Reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as a family. Almost wetting pants. Waiting to see when Savvymom would wet hers.
10. Reading the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas Eve.
11. Christmas day gumbo.
12. My parents, my brothers and sisters, and my niece and soon-t0-join-us nephew.

So, um, it seems like maybe a lot of my family traditions revolve around food. Huh. I really shouldn't be throwing myself a pity party here, though. I am a lucky, lucky girl. Here are some things about Christmas that will be great:

1. I have a tree.
2. I have been invited over for Christmas dinner by WR's family, who are very nice and welcoming. I also have the wonderful WR to spend Christmas with.
3. My mommy is sending me a stocking full of goodies.
4. My dad sent me a card with English pounds in it so that I can get something nice for Christmas. Am not going to think about how much I lost during the exchange from dollars to pounds.
5. I have Jif peanut butter.
6. I know where to get canned pumpkin so that I can make pumpkin pie.
7. I have Skype, so I can wake up early Christmas morning (my time) and talk to my family on Christmas Eve (their time). Maybe they'll even let me listen in on the reading.
8. I'm in England! That has to count for something. I mean, if you're going to be away from your family it's better to do it in England than in Kansas or some place like unto it.

So there you go. I have an embarassment of riches and now I'm going to go put lights on the tree.


Miss Hass said... [reply]

Okay, two things:

1) I had NO IDEA your family was part of the Alabama Christmas club. Someone else understands how I can't get through the holidays without listening to "Thistle Hair The Christmas Bear" at least 7,000 times. As a matter of fact, I just listened to the whole album this morning. TWICE!!!

2) I have Skype too! I'll email you my user name. You know, if you ever want to talk to me. Or whatever.

redlaw said... [reply]

Oh Nem!!!

If you want, I'll just fly back over and that'll be nothing like having your family with you for Christmas, but I'd sure feel better!

But I know the feeling - this is my first Christmas away from my hometown since my mission and I have been missing everything about home lately...funny how the holidays do that to a person...

At least there are phones...and email...and lots of good snuggling with WR to get you through!

Streets of Belfast said... [reply]

I miss your family traditions, especially the ones with food. This will also be my first Christmas without any family and I am slowly beginning to realise it. On the good side, I got myself an invite to Christmas dinner. This means that I will not actually have to spend Chrismas with my ex-boyfriend (for those who don't know, I live with his mother right now--I know, it's fun). I am very, very pleased. I am also hoping that the airing of Christmas movies (especially The Muppet Christmas Carol) is a global tradition.

Cicada said... [reply]

I spent my first Christmas away from home bawling because I was sick, the trains weren't working and I had to walk for two hours to get home in the middle of the night... well, at 6:00 which FELT like the middle of the night because it was dark and cold and while I was walking in the cold, my family was supposed to be calling me, and I knew that I'd be missing their call. Dreadful, dreadful....

The SECOND Christmas away from home was one of my best Christmases ever.

April said... [reply]

It's hard to be away from family during family-centered holidays. I'm personally sad because as my family has grown older, the fewer people are around to celebrate all in the same place.
But at least you can look at the bright side of things, like snogging under some mistletoe. And snogging not under mistletoe. :)

JB said... [reply]

And more snogging! I mean. Egg-nog. Yeah.

Sorry you aren't going home, Nem! Sounds like you've got some nice things for Christmas, though. Maybe your family could share the Alabama Christmas Album with you via the internet? Good luck with that! And your phone call! I hope it's long and really fun! :)

Kelly said... [reply]

So sorry you'll be missing out on the family fun! Funnily enough, a lot of my family's traditions revolve around food too. Huh. I call that a sign of intelligent and discerning families.

I'm so happy that you got a tree AND that you get to spend the holidays with WR. Sounds like a good time to me!

Desmama said... [reply]

Nem, so sorry you won't be home for Christmas this year. When you cry, remember that I am crying too (for you and for myself, stuck in H---, TX). And I just finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Love it every time. I want to try whistling "What Child Is This?" sometime and see if I can get past the third verse without passing out. ;) P.S. I stopped blogging because I am pregnant and sick. Plus, I'd much rather read other people's blogs (i.e. yours) than blog myself. That is all.

Savvymom said... [reply]

Yesterday I was depressed about not being at my mommy's house for Christmas either. But I definately have it better than you. I thought you had big plans to go travel Europe over Christmas break. What happened to that?

edgy killer bunny said... [reply]

You forgot the bestest Christmas movie ever--The Sound of Music. Now, I don't understand why this is a Christmas movie (much like I don't understand why "My Favorite Things" is a Christmas song--snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes are a winter thing, not necessarily a Christmas thing), but I know that I always manage to catch it on TV on Christmas Day. Even in Portugal, when my companion and I had to cancel our dinner appointment because I had a really nasty stomach flu.

Rachel said... [reply]

We always watch "Better Off Dead" and "The Matrix." Don't ask.

So sorry you won't be home! That is hard. When I was in Paris I would call home and hear all the fun going on in the background. It definitely sucked. But next year you'll be home and homesick for England. You just can't win. :)

By the way, I LOVE "A Muppet Christmas Carol"! I still laugh just thinking about Miss Piggy talking about how good the goose smells. "It DOES doesn't it?"

Anonymous said... [reply]

Ok Nem, I almost shed a tear for you. How sad! Try to focus on the positives--like spending the day with WR and having a Christmas tree! Which by the way.....how did you haul a 90-inch tree down the street? (that's a 7 1/2 ft tree).

kristen said... [reply]

that anonymous was me by the way. I don't know why my name got cut off. (kristen)

CoolMom said... [reply]

Nemmy, you know we all love you and miss you. I don't know how I am going to survive Christmas without any of my little girls to share it will, but then, there's always coolboy. He's the next best thing. And Army Dave and I can share some crochet patterns and ooh and ahh over yarn.

I'm having an issue right now. Yesterday at ward council a sister announced that another sister was having some surgery today and might need some help. So cooldad comes home and tells me this and since she's in our dinner group I call her and offer make dinner for her family ON MY DAY OFF. So she thanks me, and so on. So this morning my pregnant house guest goes into labor (long story short) and wants/needs me at the hospital but I am struggling to get the dinner for the other girl done so I can get to the hospital. I just find out the girl is getting a nip/tuck thing done. I cannot believe it. I will probably never make a meal for anyone ever again. Isn't this one of those times when you order pizza? What would posess someone to think that people who are having vanity surgery deserve meals. I sure wouldn't. On my day off no less.

Spitfire said... [reply]

Coolmom, that is lame. You could order pizza and have it sent to her house so that they have to pay for it when it arrives. . .

Nemesis, I was doing quite well coping with the not going home for Christmas thing. But now I've realized that all I've been talking about to someone lately is home, and christmas, etc. and now all I want to do is cry, too! And I'm pms'ing. HOWEVER, I do consider myself very blessed to be able to spend some time with savvymom and her family. Yay! But until then while all my roomates are at their homes I'll probably just in my apartment alone and blubber away! Just kidding. Volunteering somewhere will be a must!

Savvymom said... [reply]

So what is she getting nipped and tucked? Im dying to know? I wonder if she missed the memo this past October....

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hass, we SO are part of the club. Only I always skip over the Christmas Bear song because it's weird. The ones that get me are "Christmas in Dixie" and "Tender Tennessee Christmas." Sniffle.

Redlaw, you are right. Thanks for reminding me that telecommunications and cuddling will see me through this!

Streets, I am very very pleased that you don't have to have Christmas dinner w/your exbf. PLUS, I can't imagine chips and chicken nuggets making a great dinner anyway.

Cici, I almost bawled just reading the story of you walking in the dark and the cold while sick. You poor sweet baby.

Are you going home to see your family, April? I hear you on the "everyone growing up & doing their own thing" front. And yay for mistletoe! I'd better go find me some of that . . .

Thanks, JB! I will think of you while I'm, um . . . Nogging. ;-)

Kelly, you are right. We have intelligent and discerning families who realize that holidays are all about food. And elastic waistbands on our pants.

Texmom, congratulations!!!! Only sorry about the part where you're sick and not blogging and stuck in Texas with the Crazy Gun People and all. I will send all kinds of good vibes your way. It's great to hear from you!

SM, don't remind me. Streets and I (read: ME) didn't get our acts together early enough on the planning front. But now we're planning a trip to Prague in the spring and it's going to be great.

EKB, I had no idea they use The Sound of Music as a Christmas film! That's one more for me to put on the list of things to watch during vacation when I'm alone with the cat!

Rach, thank you for understanding about the Muppets! My favorite part is when Beaker flips Scrooge off, because I am 10.

Kristen, I carried it home using my skills. I have mind power, y'see, MIND power. Also maybe it was actually 90 centimeters. Darn Brits with their metric system . . .

Um, Mom? You do realize that this blog isn't the same as email, right? I mean, I'm sure everyone is happy to learn that "--" is requesting casseroles while she's off for some plastic surgery, but could we get back . . . TO ME??? (Hee. I love The Emperor's New Groove)

Sorry, Spitfire. At least you get to play with Baby Savvy, though. That counts for lots in my book. I am jealous of you.

Panini said... [reply]

It is just sad, sad that your family won't be at our house this Christmas! And it is a tragedy that you won't be with family. So glad there's WR to lighten it.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I know, Pan! Thank you for sympathising. Do you have any exciting plans for Christmas?

CoolMom said... [reply]

Sorry, I forgot.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hey, that's okay. I love you, Mommy!

April said... [reply]

Nem: I live in the same area as most of my family, so I don't have much traveling to do, if any. It's just the matter of getting all the kids who are "too cool" to hang out with family at gatherings.

CBH said... [reply]

Dearest Sister, when will you learn?
Other people eat to live, Americans live to eat. That's what makes us so much better than everyone else.

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