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Today is the holiday observances in my family. While everyone in my immediate family was raised Catholic (or some variation thereon), we have all abandonned the faith. It became tradition when we were growing up to open packages after midnight mass, so that mom could sleep in in the morning. And, since we travelled to see grandparents on Christmas and afterwards, we would have our big feast at home on Christmas Eve, rather than abandon it altogether.

For years now, even as grown adults who had more patience than a child with presents under the tree, we could have moved things back to Christmas Day. And the parents usually travel to see their parents the weekend between Christmas and New Years (Dad being a workaholic and not wanting to give up a weekday). Despite this, Christmas Eve has remained the traditional day of celebration.

And it's just as well. With my brother married now, and with her family demanding attention now on Christmas Day, mom can still have a few hours with her son, and now grandson, on our own little tradition.

As much as I hate tradition, it makes her happy, and I don't have to listen to her complain bitterly, like she does at Thanksgiving because she won't say anything about always being second-place.

And because of the baby, we aren't even going to make it to midnight, which is just fine. Another little chink in the armor of traditions that are still nominally Christian. Sadly, my efforts to move the day up to the Winter Solstice, and have a nice Saturnalia celebration, have been rebuffed. :(

Fortunately, for the sister-in-law, the kid is too young to understand Santa. In coming years, I'm sure I'll be the terrible aunt that breaks him of that silly belief before the mother wants him to be. And frankly, after having a conversation with my mother, who was naturally defending teaching kids to believe in Santa, I'll be really glad to do it. Do you know what her number one reason was for thinking it was okay to lie to kids? So that parents could threaten them with bad things happening if they didn't behave without having to suffer the consequences of being perceived as the "bad guy". They could threaten the child that Santa would punish them! And then she says to me, how else would they get kids to behave themselves? Oh, like that technique works so well?!

By tomorrow morning I will be back home again. I can go back to work (like a good father's daughter should), and try to figure out where and when I can take in a showing of Sherlock Holmes.

Whatever you are celebrating this week, have a good one... and if you eat too much, which you all surely will, go to the gym next week, so you are ready to do it again for New Years. Nothing is more of a bummer over the holiday than gaining 10 or 20 lbs. Work it off while you're at it! You'll thank yourself on January 2nd!

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