Something was a bit different at our house this year. I brought up my yearly subject as we finished our last bites of dressing and cranberry sauce. “You know, tomorrow’s the day after Thanksgiving.” I waited for my husband’s response, prepared with my annual rebuttal.
My husband skipped his usual retort, substituting a shrug and an eye-roll. On years like this, he usually says, “Nobody’s coming. There won’t be any need to drag out all that stuff.”
Like many blended families, we’ve adapted our habits to fit our situation – quite happily, I might add. Our oldest son’s marriage brought the bonus of three-year-old twin girls, our first grandchildren, to be joined about six weeks later by a grandson born into the youngest son’s family. Since the twins rotated Christmases between their natural parents, we began a tradition of having the whole Butler clan together on the years we could have them with us.
We also rotate locations so that our four families take turns with hosting duties or travel. This means alternating years of a rambunctious Christmas with the whole clan and a quieter Christmas with whoever is within reach or just the two of us at home. I enjoy both kinds – with the Christmas tree up and the house decorated. Two years ago, the family was at our house so there was no protest from my husband. He does see the need for decorations if somebody's coming.
This year the Butler crew, having added five more bonuses by birth or adoption to the girls and first grandson, will meet in Arizona – home for the twins, now juniors at Northern Arizona University, and their 11-year-old brother. Hence, nobody’s coming here.
Friday morning, Allen lugged the Christmas tree from the shed – still intact in its stand from last year. [Okay, so it’s artificial. It will last until the day after New Year’s when I take it down and will not shed.] I’m more than happy to share it when somebody’s coming, but Friday was a happy day as I decorated the tree with college football providing background interest. The truth is the tree is for me. Maybe my husband has finally figured that out which led to him skipping his annual response. My ears were glad not to hear “Nobody’s coming. There won’t be any need to drag out all that stuff.”
Incidentally, this tree may not smell as good, but it’s not nearly as much trouble as the first Christmas trees I remember. That story will wait for Thursday’s blog.