Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas, Festivus, Et.Al.

It's Christmas Eve in Florida...a cloudy, muggy day. That's just the way I like it, or at least when compared to Chicago snow. But I'm really not prepared for the holiday yet; this year, we did a "Skipping Christmas" maneuver and took a week-long cruise from December 9th to the 16th. That means we spent seven days of prime preparation time chowing at the buffet, lounging at the pool, and relaxing in the spa. We did do one Christmas-preparatory activity: We attended the onboard gingerbread house-building seminar. Sadly, due to Customs rules that forbid bringing opened food shore, we had to abandon our creation when we disembarked.

A week may not seem like much time to lose, but it is when you have a seven-day work week. I did manage to put up some unlighted decorations outside, and my husband assembled our silver aluminum Christmas tree, but that was the extent of our efforts this year. I suppose it all balances out, since last year we went whole hog due to being featuring on the Celebration Holiday Home Tour.

Even though we're well into the evening of Christmas Eve, I haven't quite caught the holiday spirit yet. That's probably because the Turner "Christmas Story" 24-hour marathon doesn't begin for another two hours. For me, Christmas doesn't truly begin until I've seen Ralphie beg for the Holy Grail of presents: A Red Ryder BB gun.

Actually, I won't get to tune in until tomorrow. Pretty soon we'll head out to Disney World for dinner at the California Grill atop the Contemporary Resort. We'll watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our restaurant vantage point, and then we'll head off to Com Pres for the 11 p.m. candlelight service. By the time we're done with all that, I know that it will feel like Christmas.

On Christmas Day, it will be a Chinese feast with friends in honor of the "Christmas Story" finale. Last year, we added our own comic touch by finding a long, black hair in the orange beef. I'm not sure if we can top that in 2006, but I'm sure that we'll try.

On the home front, we've decided to embrace the fact that our tree is virtually decoration-free. My husband did string some sad-looking plastic bead-and-bell garland around its boughs, but neither one of us felt like tackling the ornaments. Since it is aluminum, we've decided to declare it a Festivus Tree...a bit fancier than the traditional Festivus Pole, but fashionably shabby-looking nonetheless.

In addition to the Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Great Strength, we will incorporate our own Christmas tradition: The Scratching of the Lottery Tickets. Since neither my husband nor I ever knows what we should buy for each other, we've solved the problem in a simple fashion. We buy a slew of instant lottery tickets, divide them up, and indulge in a gambling frenzy on Christmas morning. But this year we've decided to extend the fun...although Festivus is technically December 23rd, I think it makes more sense to extend the holiday season in any way possible. Thus, our customized celebration will take place on the 26th.

All in all, it promises to be another interesting holiday here in Celebration. It's a far cry from the first Christmas after we bought Duloc Manor. We'd only owned it for four short months, so we didn't have a Christmas tree or any decorations yet. We bought a little tabletop tree complete with decorations and erected it in the front room. We've long since graduated to "real" trees, but we still own that first little piece of holiday cheer.


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