A Christmas Story

Tara and Rich
Tara and Rich

Christmas has always reminded me of my Aunt Jody (Dad’s sister/my Godmother). I sometimes wonder how much my love of Christmas has been influenced by trying to carry on her memory.

(To read more about Aunt Jody, read my post here from 2011 before my first Christmas in California: https://lindsayinlalaland.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/comin-on-christmas/?preview=true&preview_id=176&preview_nonce=813abab6ae&post_format=standard.)

This will be my fourth Christmas since living in California. Of these four years, I’ve only been back to New Jersey once.

Year one: San Diego with Phyllis and Ron; year two: Jersey; year three: San Francisco with Kevin and Jill, and now this year, Topanga with Rich, Tara, and Sam.

I used to feel like it wasn’t Christmas unless I was home, but if it isn’t quite obvious yet, California is more and more becoming my home.

Last month during rehearsals for The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever, Paul had us all stand in a circle, close our eyes, and think of the one word that came to our minds when we thought of Christmas. He gave us a minute. No minute needed, Paul. The word jumped into my head so fast I could have blurted it out before anyone else. On the count of three, we all yelled out our word. Going around the room, a lot of people said “family” or “home” or “love”. Not me. I was the only person to yell, “tradition.”

Sam my place

I fucking love tradition (I should remind you of my flattering nickname at this time of year: the Christmas Nazi). So I will of course miss my family and friends and all the traditions that go with being home. Because there are SO many. But the fun thing about having a new home is starting new traditions.

For instance, baking cookies. For some reason that I’m not really sure of, people love my cookies. Yes they’re homemade but I literally follow directions on a bag. Whatever, I’ll take it. (I may have one special, secret ingredient. That’s a lie. I just wanted to make you think that they really are special). So I make batches and batches of cookies every year and buy cookie tins and candy and give them as gifts. Movies are always big. I have to watch a lot of them. Like, all of them. Even the bad ones on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime. Decorating. I love to decorate. I LOVEEEE Christmas lights.

At this point, I guess that’s about it for Christmas traditions, which really isn’t much since they aren’t specific activities for specific days (ex: Christmas Eve sushi feast followed by Polar Express and brand new Christmas PJs at the Stetson residence).

So I’ve really got a lot of room to make new traditions. It’s very exciting.

Rich and Tara come see my play on December 8th and I meet them outside afterwards. Of course, they tell me they loved the show and that it was great (I mean, it’s really funny), and then I’m ready to get down to business. OK guys, the bar is closed on Christmas Eve, so I was thinking I’d come up on Christmas Eve. Tara lets me know that they’ll be having dinner at her aunt and uncle’s and I can go with them. Ahhhh we’re making plans already. I love this. OK, what about after that. I need to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and The Polar Express. They’re both down for It’s a Wonderful Life but Rich tries to compromise with me. “How about we listen to the audio tape of the original Polar Express, because that reminds me more of growing up.” Ohhh he’s gonna get me with the whole childhood thing. I SUPPOSE I can compromise. Or I’ll just wait until they’re asleep because God knows I’ll be up later than them.

me tara deck
Sometimes we take pictures together

Back to Aunt Jody. I had this realization the other day, that I am now the Aunt Jody of the Robinson family. For this year, anyway. I get to come and visit this family, as Miss Christmas. I get to hang out with them on Christmas Eve, and once the baby is asleep, put presents under the tree. I’d like to say we’ll be getting loud and drunk, the way my parents and Aunt Jody did, but Tara is pregnant and Rich is Rich. (So I’ll be getting drunk on my own.)

And you know I have a lot of presents to put under the tree. I can’t wait for Sam to be asleep, and to then go in my car and start unloading. (Granted, most of them are for me – from my mother – because if we’re being completely honest, I’m not 100% Christmas because of Aunt Jody. My Mom is also insane. And I love her for making me this way.)

Then I get to wake up Christmas morning in their home, desperately needing coffee (as Aunt Jody did) for how early it is, since I’m used to sleeping until 10 every day, and then watch their 18-month-old open presents. On Christmas. He’s going to love it.

This is it. This is finally me changing into the adult who enjoys Christmas and not the kid. I know. I’m 30. It’s about time. And I’ve never been more excited. I am now Aunt Jody. Sort of.

Merry Christmas everyone! (And to Kelly, Merry Merry!) (And in honor of Aunt Jackie, Merry Merry Merry!) And to my family and friends, I love you and wish I could see you right this minute. Let’s Facetime the shit out of today.

***The following is a little peak at Christmas Eve with the Robinson clan. There’s truly something fascinating about watching parents put together toys for their kids on the night before Christmas.***

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