Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New & Old Traditions

This year began the compromise of sharing holidays between my family and Abe's. What we're aiming to do is have Thanksgiving day with one family and Christmas day with the other one year, and flip which family gets the actual day the next year. 

We spent Thanksgiving at his grandparents' house, in a little town east of Eugene. To both contribute to the meal and bring in a little of my own family, I brought Nanaimo bars. Though more of a Christmas, than Thanksgiving, treat, it's still always worth sharing. (I'll share the recipe on here soon!) They had turkey and ham, but also a tofurkey - and I wasn't the only one eating it! Although I think I'm the only actual vegetarian in the group, Abe and many of his family members are flexitarians and are fairly infrequent with their meat-eating. 

After dinner, the boy cousins were sent off to play disc golf, while I learned how to play pinochle with his mom, sister, and aunt. My dad's side of my family used to play this, though it's been a while (I don't think anyone in my generation ever learned it). I think I now mostly get the how, but not necessarily the why - i.e., what the different melds are and how they're scored. It was nice to spend an entire day with his family. Since they live in the area, when we do see them it's just for a couple hours for a meal. Even though my parents live six hours away, Abe has gotten to know them better than I have his, since when we see them it's for an entire weekend or a few days at a time.

Friday I got to participate in my own family's traditional sort-of-Black Friday shopping. None of us like crowds, nor are we typically into the big-ticket items that are on sale, so we avoid the standard places. Goodwill is always on the itinerary, and we also went to Powell's. We considered going to Old Navy because it was in the same shopping complex. We only got one foot inside the door, saw the line for check-out of about 40 or 50 people (not exaggerating - and this wasn't early in the day, it was probably 4 pm by this point), and immediately walked back out. 

While we were together, we planned out a new thing for my dad's side of the family, with whom we'll be spending Christmas day this year. With the youngest cousin now out of college and married, there aren't currently any kids that create any obligation for gifts, and the number of relatives is increasing. We decided to draw names: luckily this year there are 5 in each immediate family, so we each drew one of them to give to, and one of each of us for them to give to. 

Saturday, while my parents were still in town, we started introducing the future-future-in-laws. We had lunch with my parents and sister and his mom and sister. Sunday continued the family theme as I attended a concert that Abe and his sister were in. They're part of a group of quartets that dresses in Dickens-era costumes and does caroling performances around the area.

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