For the first time ever, I am hosting my family’s Christmas festivities. In past years, Dan and I have always made the 9+ hour (by car) trek back to Michigan and we’ve celebrated Christmas at my parents’ house where we stay up late on Christmas Eve watching old black and white Christmas movies and alternate between eating a variety of small, mostly Italian-based dishes, and opening gifts. This all takes place in the living room, where my folks always have a fire going because their house is insanely cold in the winter. It’s all very lovely and cozy and sometimes we drink too much and start bickering with each other, but hey, it’s the holidays and that’s just how the sugar cookie crumbles sometimes.
But this year, we’re staying in Baltimore and I’m a little nervous. Both of my siblings live in other countries (brother in Colombia and sister in Germany) and will not be coming home for Christmas. So it’s just going to be me, Dan and my parents, which will be fun, but very different. We have a tiny, narrow row house and not a lot of room for a Christmas tree. We’re probably going out this weekend to look for a tree and I can just imagine the stress-induced arguments that will result when we bring whatever small, but not too stupid looking tree we could find into the house. The cat will immediately start biting at the pine needles and I’m sure I’ll trip over the dog as he nervously tries to be included in the inexplicably asshattery occurring around him. We’re going to have to move pieces of furniture into other rooms where additional pieces of furniture really cannot fit and until the moment the tree comes down, our cramped little house is going to feel even more cramped and little. But I want a tree. If I can’t have my sister or brother home for Christmas, I at least want a tree. So we’ll make it work.
But then comes figuring out how to set things up so that we can watch movies downstairs in the living room. We have to watch movies in the same room as the tree because we need to be able to watch and eat and open gifts all at the same time without having to constantly bring things in from another room or take a break from the movies to go downstairs and open some gifts. Right now, I’m planning to bring my large-screen iMac home from work and set that up in the living room. Still, I cannot stress enough how narrow and small our row house is. Comfortably fitting four people into the living room to watch movies, not to mention that our large dog will surely take up some good floor space, will not be an easy task.
The one thing I’m not at all worried about is the food. I’m really looking forward to spending Christmas Eve day shopping for last minute items with my mom and cooking up a bunch of different tapas plates. On Christmas Day, we’re planning to make paella, which I’m totally pumped about.
All of this stress is of course of my own creation, but I’m feeling pretty sad that I won’t be spending Christmas with either of my siblings. I haven’t seen my brother in almost two years now and I can’t even think about Christmas without my sister without getting a little teary. I’m excited, though, that we’re finally having Christmas in Baltimore, because I’ve lived in this city for over three years now and have never once been around for the holiday, plus without my siblings around, it’s not like Christmas at home would have felt the same anyway, but preparing my house for additional people always makes me feel like I’m on the verge of a panic attack.