We all have our Christmas traditions. In my family, these include a lot of fruit and cookies, a really long party on Christmas Eve with all our friends. It’s a large breakfast and my siblings and I whispering back and forth about what we will find under the tree. It is late night board games and playing with my niece and nephews toys, and having lots of people around to ask the odd little questions that fiction writers ask of.
It is also drinking a lot more than usual, especially in front of the parents. I have a cousin who is home from Iraq for the first time in three years this week. He has been half comatose the whole time. (not that I blame him, he’s in his very early 20’s and has had little opportunity to do this in quite a while, along with living with all that stress.) The only time he perked up at all was when another cousin and I started joking about how the younger cousins are a lot better behaved than we ever were.
us: look, not one of them is chasing a dog around with a knife.
cousin who is home from war (cwhw): perks up, I can do that.
us: laughing remember when we locked you in a chest?
He started drinking Jack at about ten am on Christmas Eve. He was asleep around eightpm. In between, he was never without a drink. He did this all week.
Escaping is a tradition I take part in, too. As is getting a little sloppy Christmas Eve. Not quite as sloppy as this cousin, but sloppy. I drink Crown and stand while playing games and giggle. I tell little stories. I ignore heart aches, pretend they don’t exist (and thank everyone else for doing so, as well). I get a lot of phone calls, too, apparently. That’s a new one. This year, there wasn’t even a hangover the next day. Last year, it was raging. I couldn’t eat all day. I had fewer calories that way, though, right?
Oh, but wait, they don’t exist on Christmas.