Holiday traditions turned into an absolute chic show.
Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Whiteman, Missouri, ,where we lay our scene. Oh, my darling LUXYFAMILY™, I wish it were more like a beautiful play written by a master English Poet. Nay, it was more of a chic show of mass proportions that ended up being a total holiday to remember. When you blend a house of tradition with a house that lives by the mantra, “we fly by the seat of our pants,” it is sure to get interesting. Add on the delicious double topping that I was only holding title of “girlfriend” at the time, you learn the art of going with the flow… no matter how hard of a lesson it may be.
It was 2007, and I was still in the military as a Military Police Officer. We had exceptionally long and unpredictable schedules, so holidays were a precious and sacred moment when you actually happened to have the day off. I had just met my now husband’s mother and sister, who had moved near the base, and we were all still feeling each other out – so the honeymoon phase was still upon us.
However, that was about to change with a hard-right turn.
It would turn out that my then boyfriend was going to have to work on Christmas, and I was left to entertain my hopefully future in-laws. Now, I LOVE to cook, and so I was super excited to razzle dazzle everyone with my culinary skills (insert sarcastic laugh) – nope.
If there is one thing that has not changed in the fourteen years we have been together, it is that his family does not like to really plan. It is not that they are incapable, it is just not in the playbook. It is completely endearing and so exciting, but utterly frustrating to a control freak such as myself who must plan everything. Layouts make me happy.
When it came to planning the Big Meal, we began “The Dance”. I was preparing to go to the market and asked, “What would you like with the Turkey? Or would you prefer ham? Do you have a preference on sides?” They are from Mississippi, so traditions might be different.
The reply, “We don’t care, whatever you want.” Ok, great – easy enough. I ran down what I was going to do and then the shift begins. “What about salmon?” I just sat there for a second and thought about it. Then I suppose my silence was taken as an opening. The avalanche began.
“You don’t even need to go to the market, we can just pull whatever you have here. Let’s do something spontaneous!” Now, my now 36-year-old self appreciates the fact that they were trying to make it easy, but 21-year-old me was internally combusting.
It was my first holiday with my now husband (even if he would only have leftovers) and I was in my home, so I was trying to keep my boundaries; however, I was still trying to earn brownie points. Oh dear, what was a girl to do? I very well couldn’t complain to my boyfriend. Could you imagine that impression?
The holiday dinner was upon us and I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking wine, watching a scene unfold as my future mother- and sister-in-law were rummaging through my refrigerator. Now, I am a young woman who works ridiculous hours, so I did not have the best selection, and most of it was frozen.
As I lifted my glass to take another swig, I spied over the rim at Buffalo Wings, Taquitos, Macaroni and Cheese, and to be honest, by this point, I just closed my eyes. Bye-bye tradition, hello chic show.
We took a picture standing proudly next to our spread of artificial flavors and GMOs and posted it up on social media. I grabbed some Berry Merry wine and proceeded to fill my plate and sit with my new family and adjust to my new family tradition.
As I looked at their faces and how happy they were to just be with me and enjoy the moment, all the anxiety and irritation I had felt slowly started to melt away. It could have been the wine, but being completely transparent, I didn’t grow up having big traditional holidays – which is why it was so important presently – but this was special. I had my new family, and we were all laughing and poking fun at the ridiculousness in front of us.
Now, I am not saying I do not prepare and have contingency plans to avoid anything resembling the meal I experienced that year – trust me, I do. I also have extreme respect for just being in the same room with the people I love most in the world.
The holidays allow us to come together, and although some may come together all the time, the holiday season is surrounded in magic. So, you see, although we are a house divided in tradition, we are firmly unified at the heart.