Monday, December 15, 2008

Top 10 holiday traditions

10) The Turkey Raffle at the North Aurora firehouse. This charity event - usually held the weekend before Thanksgiving - kicks off our holiday season. Everyone we know and love is there. This year I won pork chops and a ham.

9) Thanksgiving at our house. It's pretty much an open house that starts around 11 a.m. with bloody Marys and a bonfire and ends whenever it ends with friends and neighbors watching Christmas Vacation and Trains, Planes & Automobiles -- with Jim's famous turkey on the grill and my famous makes-you-fart stuffing in between.

8) The Christmas Walk in Geneva. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Shopping. Santa. Friends. Although last year I stepped on a luminary and the whole bag went up in flames. And that was before the hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps.

7) Walking along Michigan avenue, window shopping and laughing about the time I pooped in the bathroom at the Eddie Bauer store and Jim could smell it all the way out into the hallway. Then dinner at the Chophouse. Sometimes we walk up to Butch McGuire's on Division - a bar joyfully festooned with Christmas decorations. Spinning stuffed animals hang from the ceiling. Christmas lights everywhere. Our favorite is Santa sitting in the outhouse reading the Christmas issue of Playboy. Classic.

6) Heading into the city on a Sunday with Jim's mom to check out the windows at Marshall Field's (the best year was the Grinch, followed by Harry Potter), buying Frangos and then bopping over to the Christkindlmarket on Daley plaza. Then grabbing lunch at Miller's Pub. Of course Marshall Field's is now Macy's so it's really not the same at all.

5) Getting our Christmas tree at Swan's tree lot in Geneva. We've been doing this for at least five years, since the time we cheaped out and bought a $15 tree from Ace Hardware. The trunk was so rotten that it flopped over twice three times (Jim corrected me on this) (breaking dozens of ornaments) before Jim chucked it out the front door Christmas morning. This is also known as the Christmas We Almost Turned Jewish.

4) Setting up the Dickens Christmas village with Tina, the daughter of our close friends/neighbors. We sing along with the Grinch and Rudolph and Year Without a Santa Claus. I'm in charge of infrastructure - running electricity through the village and situating the buildings and roads. Tina is responsible for aesthetics - she adds the people, the vehicles, the trees and the snow. We've been doing this since she was five or six years old. She's 11.

3) Our annual Christmas dinner with Tina, her parents, and her two older brothers on the night before Christmas Eve. We switch who hosts it every year and make a huge feast and exchange gifts and watch Christmas shows. We've been doing this since we were married 10 years ago.

2) Driving to look at the lights in some of the ritzy-titzy neighborhoods on the west side of Aurora. We usually do this Christmas Eve after dinner/gifts with Jim's mom. She loves it.

1) Jim, making breakfast after we open our gifts Christmas morning. Then loading up the family truckster for Michigan - the drive is relaxing and quick - we listen to Christmas songs and Gromit sits on my lap the whole way there. We reach my parent's house and the holiday starts all over again with family, friends, gifts and dinner.
I am listening to: Tropic Thunder
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Blessed


molly gras said...

What a lovely list ... thanks for sharing :)

BTW - I totally need your hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps "recipe" ... I've been wanting to bring some type of delicious liquid fun to one of our myriad parties and that one sounds like it'll hit the spot! Thanks!!

Posolxstvo the First said...

Let me see if I can guess the recipe.

Make hot chocolate. Doesn't matter what kind, but the homemade withreal milk kind is the best, but you ahve to be sure to get it warm enough.

Pour some peppermint schnapps in. At least a shot per cup of hot chocolate. More if you like more mint and stuff.


Repeat until Rudolph's nose glows.

TheOz said...

#5! LMFAO!!!