Another year has come and gone and another Christmas Day celebrated.
I was out of town for a few days to visit with my mom and some family members and we had a great time. My brother and I spent the first night together relaxing over food and drink and talking about former career experiences and life's lessons with my nephew. My nephew was blown away by everything he was hearing. He kept saying "how come I never knew about this?"
It was too funny.
It just goes to show that while you are living your life and working, there are many things even your closest family members don't know about you for one reason or another. Now that my nephew is soon to graduate and move on to do his master's degree, he is old enough and far more interested in hearing (and learning) about the experiences of his older relatives.
All of us had a few nights to relax, eat, visit with my mom, visit with my niece and do a few tasks and things to tidy my mom's room and get her things organized.
Nothing was too stressful, I almost got enough sleep, and I was able to make a wonderful Christmas dinner that all (even I) enjoyed. I put myself in brackets because it is often the case that the cook doesn't enjoy the meal as much as his/her guests, though am not quite sure why. My mother always used to say that to me and I never understood it until I started doing a lot more cooking for others.
This year the turkey was purchased pre-cooked and it was delicious! I purchased a pre-cooked Christmas dinner at Safeway. I did this once before for mom about 5 years ago and the price has considerably increased since then. Roasted potatoes, instead of mashed comes with the store bought meal. Neither is turkey stuffing provided so I made both. I really wanted to make a Christmas dinner this year so I could take my mom some home cooking. That is why I rented a motel room with a kitchenette. Though the dinner is pre-cooked you still need to put it in the oven for about 90 minutes and warm up the gravy. I like to make sure my bird is cooked so I kept it in the oven for 2 hours and it was perfect; so moist and delicious.
My nephew pointed out that it was good to have an apartment style place to hang out and relax. That part was true enough though I found the decor and building itself is somewhat old and dated. It could use a few updates to make it much more comfortable but overall it met our needs quite well, not least of which was having a working oven to be able to make the Christmas dinner that we could all enjoy together. My mom absolutely enjoyed her Christmas turkey too and it pleased me to give her some home cooking that she could at and enjoy.
We arrived in good time on Christmas Eve day whereupon after checking in to my motel, I was able to spend several hours visiting with my mom. I also gave her her quilt early after showing it to her. I wanted to put it on her bed right away so that I could see how it was working out for her over the time we would be visiting her. Staff immediately noticed it and told her how beautiful it was so that was gratifying.
On Christmas Day after preparing and eating an early meal we visited mom for awhile before taking my niece to the last installment of The Hobbit movie. I sure enjoyed it and found it very sad to see the end of the age of the dwarves and the elves. I was also sad that the Hobbit movie series that my family members and I go to every year is now at an end. I hope next year there will be something equally good for us all to watch. As the movie was playing it's last scenes, my niece pronounced "good movie" which is high praise coming from her. She does absolutely look forward to this annual movie togetherness that we have been undertaking now for several years and I enjoy it too.
I started the tradition of taking in a movie on Christmas Day many, many years ago. At first it was my mom and I. I took her to a movie as a way to get her out at Christmas and because she always said she didn't like movies and couldn't watch them. I guess I wanted to test that theory, lol. She did enjoy some of the movies and to this day we still laugh over one comedic movie we saw called "Johnny Dangerously". In those days, the movie theatre was almost empty and only a few hardy souls ventured out. As the years went by, I started taking my niece to movies, then my nephew (sometimes nephews) joined in and now one brother also joins us for his 1 movie a year, lol. Fast forward to Christmas Day in 2014. The lobby of the multi-theatre complex was jam-packed with people in several different line-ups for tickets and for snacks. I didn't think we were going to get in but fortunately most the people were going to different theatres. We were able to get into our movie with no problem.
After the movie ended, we had a long drive to take my niece home and so off we went so she could have another bite of Christmas dinner before sleep beckoned. Then we headed to see mom for another visit before she went to sleep too. Afterwards we picked up a friend of my nephew's who came to spend the evening with him at the room. They talked, ate and drank, played games and watched movies while I watched television in my room, cleaned and began to do all the packing. With so much that we had to take on the journey besides clothing and gifts, there was a LOT to pack and get organized. I also had to label some of the new Christmas clothing items mom received before we departed. I was kept busy the whole night long but nothing too stressful.
We were ready for check out right on time and packed the car before one last journey to see my mom and say our goodbyes. While my brother and nephew visited with her, I was tidying her closest and drawers and trying to rearrange things for easier access to her clothing and socks. I then spent some time with her letting her know where she could find her new items of clothing that she got for Christmas before we took our leave. It is always hard to say goodbye. I asked her if she enjoyed her Christmas this year. She nodded and said "yes". I know she was in a lot of pain while we were visiting with her but I also know it gave her a lot of pleasure to see her family members over a period of several days. It doesn't happen so often that we are able to get together all at once. We mostly try to stagger our visits so that she doesn't have to have such long periods where she doesn't see a close family member. Before leaving town we dropped off a gift for one of her friends, refueled the car and headed out to the highway.
Driving back was uneventful as the road conditions were excellent. We stopped a few times for coffee and snacks and about an hour or so from home we all stopped to do a bit of shopping.
It is always good to get home. It is wonderful to journey to see mom but it is also nice to get home. There were lot of bags to bring in and things to be put away. Today I ran a few errands and am doing laundry. Tomorrow I hope to go to church and there are still a few friends to see over the remaining holidays. I am also hoping to see my cousin who didn't join me at Christmas after all. She hopes to visit before the New Year and flying home. I'm looking forward to seeing her if it works for her schedule.
I know some people don't like to be around others at Christmas and prefer to spend a quiet day by themselves. I understand that because I do prefer quiet get togethers rather than a social whirlwind and loud and large gatherings. I made it a point this year to have a Christmas as stress free as possible and with as few expectations of myself as possible; while at the same time enjoying giving to others and spending quality time with them. Except for the last few nights before my trip where I was busy sewing into the late nights, I think I succeeded in having a perfect Christmas with loved ones this year.
I hope each of you had a lovely time at Christmas in the ways that you like to spend it. I also wish you the very best of the coming New Year.