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Home for the Holidays: The Preamble

Tomorrow morning I'm getting on a plane and flying from O'Hare to my parents' home in Central Pennsylvania. My family is huge on Christmas. Seriously. We're the family they make Ben Stiller movies about. Everyone gets wildly enthusiastic to see one another - for about a day and a half.

Then there's a frenzy of people trying to find one corner of privacy or silence or space away from everyone else lest there be a catastrophic event - and no place is sacred. We were raised in a world without privacy, and that comes racing back when we're at my parents' for a holiday. You can be in the middle of a shower and the door will burst open so my Dad can put his pajamas in the hamper.

It's not just the privacy thing, though. Everything is an event, and is planned with precision that would make the Swiss have multiple orgasms. This year, there is to be skiing, which is a first, but apparently my nephew, age 8, wrote in a school essay that he was going to his grandparents' for Christmas and he was going skiing, and my folks feel obliged to make good on this.

Actually, this has the potential to be good - I used to ski weekly, and if we're allowed to leave the confines of the group, I can hit some of the decent slopes. There will also be Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark, where you wander around in the dark, ride kiddie rides, and eat yourself sick. You can imagine the lines, and in the cold it can be a bit much. Then the "pay-by-the-car" through the lighted neighborhood ride.

Then, of course, Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Eve Church. Christmas Eve forcing the children to bed. Christmas Eve assembly of intricate toys. Christmas Day, the children (which now somehow seems to include me again, since I'm no longer married, despite the fact I'm over 30) are not allowed downstairs to see their Santa presents until everyone is up and assembled on the stairs for a picture. Then Santa presents. Then breakfast. This will consist of scrambled eggs, grits, coffeecake, fresh OJ, and a choice (a choice!) of coffee or tea. It has never varied. Ever.

I will detail these events over the next week. You see, I had my father make my plane reservation, and he has arranged for me to come for an entire week. An entire week. At home. With my family.

Claudia Hunter is the Beachwood's pseudononymous holiday affairs correspondent. Her posts are real, she just doesn't want her family finding them while Googling her name.



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Posted on December 20, 2006


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BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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