Ashlea and I met through Snark Squad a while ago. Time moves differently while online but she is a great friend who loves Buffy and books so obviously we were destined to become friends. I asked her for a take on Southern Christmas, since she lives in South Carolina. When she isn’t blogging for me, you can find her on Twitter or talking about books on Disquietus Reads. Be sure to check her out and follow her if you don’t already because she is hilarious and a such a sweetheart!
My earliest memories of Christmas revolve around my family. When my grandparents were alive, my parents, Matthew and I would either go to visit them or they would come to our house. Christmas would be filled with loved ones, delicious food, piles of presents and cozy, elaborate Christmas trees. I would have such a hard time getting to sleep on Christmas Eve because I loved Christmas morning so much that I would be filled with excitement. My parents used to tell me that Santa wouldn’t come until I fell asleep and that was the only thing that finally let me drift off.
Christmas was one of my favorite holidays until my grandparents passed away. What was a source of peace and happiness before became hollow, echoing with memories of the past. We still celebrated, the four of us, but it took several years before we experienced any anticipation about Christmas at all. I’m not sure I will ever stop missing my grandparents and I find myself yearning for the holidays of my childhood, when they were with me.
The past couple of years have been amazing and I almost have a child-like wonder about Christmas again. A lot of you know that this coming April, I will be celebrating two years of sobriety. My first Christmas sober (last year), I was again too excited to get much sleep on Christmas Eve. I was up at 5am and I finally woke my parents and brother up at seven because I just couldn’t wait any longer to open my presents. Which is kind of ridiculous, but funny and it made my family happy. It was a perfect holiday and I was filled with contentment and wonder about the things that matter in life, like holidays with the people you love.
Our Christmas is usually very simple and relaxed. Whoever gets up first will wake the others up, and we have a holiday-blend coffee and some sort of breakfast while we open presents. Then I spend the rest of the morning choosing books and reading (because one of my favorite presents every year is an Amazon gift card). We usually spend time together for a bit and then I help my mom start the cooking. Not because some sort of a “women belong in the kitchen” deal, but because my dad is disabled and my brother is more likely to burn down the kitchen than to make anything edible.
Mmmmmmm, Southern food on Christmas! If y’all have never had southern home cooking, then you are missing out and making bad life choices. We usually have a small turkey breast, a baked ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, homemade dressing, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and fried okra. For dessert, we have pumpkin pie with whipped cream and some sort of cake (usually chocolate layered or caramel layered). For the FOUR of us. We have leftovers for a week. OH MY DEAR LORD, I am so hungry at this moment.
My family is Catholic, but Christmas Day is for family, so sometimes my parents will go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Occasionally, my brother and I will even join them. The church looks gorgeous at midnight, all candle-lit and full of poinsettias and incense.
So, that’s how I celebrate Christmas with my family – an intimate and stress-free holiday with laughter, amazing southern home-cooking and BOOKS! How do you spend yours?
Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Happy Holidays everyone!
First of all, keep on rocking that sobriety, I am immensely proud of you! Second, of course you get books for Christmas, as do I btw. I have always asked for books either for my birthday or Christmas or both for as long as I can remember. Books and Lego are two things you can never go wrong with in my opinion. Anyway, thanks for the post and happy holidays to you as well!