Two Households of Holidays
by Brittni Brinn
My parents split when I was around eight years old. This gave rise to new schedules and routines (Thursdays and every other weekend at Dad’s place), new perspectives, and new holiday traditions.
My Mom’s side of the family always celebrated Christmas Eve by going to a candlelight service, so it made sense for my sister and I to spend December 24th with her. We would dress up, sing carols and light candles at the church, and take the long way home so we could see the neighbourhood Christmas displays. We’d get home and put on a Christmas CD, and snack on homemade nuts and bolts mix and baking. We’d eat a late meal together: Mom started the tradition of having fondue on Christmas Eve specifically for the three of us. We’d get to open ONE present before bed - okay, maybe two, because one was always a set of pajamas. The other one would be from our grandparents, who lived two provinces away.
I’m pretty sure my sister has the most Christmas spirit of anyone alive on the planet. She’d be the first one up on Christmas morning, already having scoped out what was under the tree by the time the rest of us were out of bed. We’d get to go through our stockings - Mom was the ultimate gift giver, and always balanced things we needed, like toothbrushes and socks, with neat little things like bracelet charms and tree ornaments. We’d have breakfast - cinnamon buns or fancy egg and hashbrown bakes - and then would settle in and open gifts from family and “Santa.” “Thanks Santa,” we’d say, and kiss Mom on the cheek. Calling family was the last item on our Christmas Day morning list.
Dad would pick us up around noon for the second part of our two household Christmas. Some years, we’d go skating on a frozen part of the Bow River, where there would be campfires and hot chocolate. Other years, we’d play charades or party games. My Dad and his partner and our grandmother made up our usual circle on Christmas Day, but family friends often were invited to join the festivities. My Dads would host these wonderful evening dinners. (My grandmother would contribute two jello salads: one was green and had strings of carrots in it - nobody liked that one - but the other one was pink with whipped cream and berries and was delicious.) After dinner and dessert and coffee, my sister and I were finally allowed to open gifts. And we’d spend the rest of the evening dancing in the living room, or playing games, or chatting by the fireplace.
Although my family isn’t perfect, and has gone through some really rough stuff throughout the years, somehow we were always able to come together for the holidays. My Mom did it by creating traditions for the three of us that were untouchable - no matter what was happening in a year, we had those things to hold us together and enjoy. My Dads did it through hospitality, creating these loud and bright gatherings where the ghost of Christmas Present would feel right at home.
Having two households-worth of warm family Christmases was a blessing that I do not take for granted, especially now that my family all live in different provinces. Especially this year, where many of us are feeling isolated from our families and friends. Maybe we’ll have to start new traditions, ones that are just for us, right now, that can remind us that even though we are separate, we are together, no matter what happens.
Read on for more about Brittni Brinn and her work!
About The Patch Project
May and Isak live in a house on what used to be Holly Street. There used to be lots of houses on the street, but ever since a mysterious global event, they have been alone. In spite of her husband’s injuries and the weird humming that only she can hear, May is convinced that they are doing fine, living off whatever they can find in their pantry and their memories. Then, one day, the phone rings…
“Elegant, clever, and compassionate. Navigating a post-apocalyptic landscape becomes a journey of self-discovery in this unforgettable novel.” – Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Frostblood saga.
About A Place That Used to Be
Five years have passed since the mysterious Event wiped out most of human civilization. Trading caravans travel between nascent settlements. Lawless scavengers called Grafters prowl the wasteland in increasing numbers.
Rhonda and Milo have made the best of the truncated school building they call home, growing vegetables and making short films to keep themselves occupied. But when Milo suspects a growing illness, the two of them will have to decide: will they stay where they are, or will they journey through the dangerous realm of the wasteland?
In this sequel to The Patch Project, nostalgia and hope shape each character’s search for a place to belong in an unforgiving world.
Read more at adventureworldspress.com