Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday habits

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I've been in touch with my mom a couple times to discuss things that we'll do when we're home. My sister will not be coming down to North Carolina this year, so Torsten and I will be the guests of honor, so to speak, not that our family is ever formal like that. But it got me thinking about the little rituals that I associate with holidays.

I don't mean the holiday-related stuff itself, like drinking eggnog or celebrating Christmas in the morning or afternoon or all decorating the tree together or whatever it is that you all do as a family around the holidays. I mean the stuff that you do around holiday time that really doesn't have anything to do with the holidays, but that you would be sad if you didn't do.

Really I guess I'm talking about parent-visiting rituals, since the only time when I reliably visit my parents each year is at the holidays. (Also, as a side note, I originally wrote "go home" instead of "visit my parents" and then made the conscious decision to change it since I'm married and my parents' house isn't my home. Am I the only one who still makes those little Freudian slips?)

So what I've been thinking about are the things that I always like to do when I go back to the town I lived in for 13 years, and that I've started associating with holidays, especially Thanksgiving. There are three:
  1. My favorite sushi restaurant. It is just so effing good. And there is no sushi restaurant in DC that even comes close. How depressing is that? Wouldn't you expect a major city, the capital of the country, to have better sushi than a random city in North Carolina? Well, you'd be wrong.
  2. The movies. This is something my sister started, I think. My dad likes movies that my mom and I do not, and my sister would often go with him to see stuff that we didn't want to see. Even though this year she won't be there, I fully intend to send Torsten to see James Bond (which he is dying to see and which I could care less about) with my dad while I go to something girly that Torsten would hate with my mom.
  3. The shopping mall. DC has a few shopping malls in the suburbs, including one nice one that's on the Metro, but I still hardly ever go to the mall, and when I do it's usually mission-oriented. I've never been a big shopper and Torsten is even worse than me. My mother and sister are career shoppers, though, and would shop endlessly if given the chance (and the budget). I often tag along but by the end of the day I'm usually collapsed in a chair while the two of them fly through the sale racks. Maybe this year since my sister won't be there the shopping will be a bit more low-key.
So, what are the things that you always do when you go home for the holidays?

26 comments:

  1. I usually do this intense walk up a hill to a water tower with my mom and our two family dogs. And my mom tends to kick my ass.

    I also always do this breathtaking drive on the curving roads of the Marin Headlands (right next to the Golden Gate Bridge)

    And I almost always head to the Pelican Inn for a pint - is is the beautiful little country pub out by Muir Beach (past Muir Woods).

    Oh, I can't wait until I am home at Christmas!

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  2. I always ALWAYS go to a restaurant called the Hot Dog Shoppe. I don't eat meat anymore, but I get fries and a milkshake!

    This year I am adding a new tradition...visiting new babies! There were a lot this year in my family and circle of "home" friends.

    I still call our Pittsburgh visits "going home" but I also call our house in Philly "home." =)

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  3. Try not to kill each other? I live in a totally traditionless family.

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  4. My folks live in the middle of nowhere, so we do a lot of sitting around. :)

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  5. I always say "go home," when I mean my parents' house. And I've lived away from them (not including college) for 12 years, 8 of them married!

    Like your sushi place, one "tradition" we have is eating at a Cajun restaurant in my hometown. My husband loves that place!

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  6. You know those movies where the family plays board games and holds impromtu dance parties? That's my family. I'm going to try to document it well this year.

    (Also, I say "go home" naturally but I say "visit my parent's" when I'm trying to sound grown up)

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  7. oh i definitely say "going home" to mean both my parents' house and my VA house. my parents' house will (hopefully) never NOT feel like home, but then again it's not my normal home... so.. they're both home :-)

    hmm... for thankgiving, our traditions are all food-related as opposed to activity-related. for xmas though, we have a definite routine: presents in the morning, brunch together at home, a few hours playing with presents, at least 2 rounds of family cranium (my sister and i vs. the parents) and then we go out to see a family movie. then we either get chinese food (we apparently want to join the NJ jew culture) OR my mom cooks rabbit stew for xmas dinner :-)

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  8. My husband and I still say "going home", too, when talking about our parents.

    I have three sisters, six aunts, and one mother who are hardcore career shoppers. In fact, I already have a shopping date for next week!

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  9. I definitely still refer to my parents house as "my house" or "home". But I've only been living with Dave for 8 months? So maybe it'll start to slip away soon. :)

    I don't really do anything in particular when I go home for the holidays. I guess cause I still live nearby? It's mainly just a time to relax and hang out with my extended family. That's my tradition.

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  10. my family always goes to see a movie after dinner on thanksgiving and christmas.

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  11. I call my parents' house *and* my house home. When I'm headed there, I say "going home to PA," and when I'm headed back to NY I just say "going home." I think it's okay to have more than one home.

    As for family traditions, my parents and I always play Trivial Pursuit on the holidays while the holiday meal is cooking.

    Other than that, visits home mostly revolve around visiting all of my friends at their various houses with their varying numbers of children. Maybe having lunch at the Olive Garden, since it's basically a sin to eat there in NYC, but in Bumblef**k, PA, it's an acceptable option. :)

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  12. Presents, of course. And my mom's Christmas morning breakfast!

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  13. I really miss last-minute Christmas shopping with my Mom when we're struggling to find just the right present for Cousin X. What I miss even more is last-minute shopping with my Dad who asks my Mom for a list and proceeds to purchase EVERYTHING on the list. I guess it means he's got his bases covered though. :)

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  14. i still call my parent's houses home even though i haven't lived in either of them for more than a month since i started college. i think that no matter if i'm married or have kids, i'll always call my hometown 'home' because my parents are there.

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  15. We don't have any traditions for Thanksgiving. That's kind of sad. :(

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  16. We usually put a puzzle together. My dad doesn't like puzzles, so he sits in a recliner nearby and gets up to replenish our drinks/snacks.

    I think of my parents' house as home, too; I just have TWO homes now. Same as I have two families: the family I was born into (mom, dad, brother, me) and my current household family (me, Paul, five kids).

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  17. Board games with the siblings, and congratulating myself on getting out of southern Utah.

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  18. I grew up in MA, and my parents moved to Florida a dozen years ago. It still feels like I'm "going home" when I visit them. Nothing wrong with that!

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  19. Going home for me entails going to a different country but I always have a list of first places to stop:

    1. McDonalds, for a banana shake (cant get those in Australia), even though I drink NO McDonalds shakes here in Australia.

    2. My favourite satay noodle house for a Chicken Satay burger.

    3. The Warehouse, for some jandals (flip-flops) because my feet are giant and I need the New Zealand style that is designed for Maori/Pacific Islanders.

    4. In my home town, I always buy dad and I fish n chips (making sure I get sweet potato chips-called 'kumara chips').

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  20. What about the sushi place we went to? That was delicious!

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  21. awwwwww your first married thanksgiving...

    i really dont have any rituals besides going to church with the fam and eating dinner with grandma

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  22. Watching football with my family after the Macy's Day parade.......watching great movies after dinner......taking out the Christmas decorations the Sat & Sun after Thanksgiving...

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  23. I totally slip up and call my parents' house home, even though I've never really lived there except during some summers in college. Weird.

    We used to have a tradition where we would go eat Mexican the Weds. before Thanksgiving then go home and sing karaoke in the basement bar. But that usually only happens when T's family comes down from NY.

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  24. I haven't thought of my parents' house as home since I first moved out. Home is where I sleep.

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