I have one point of comparison--my own--to judge a right and good Christmas.
It always involves a candlelight service on Christmas Eve and then a long night's stretch to find the loot I've accumulated for months in all my best hiding places. After that, we assemble, assemble, assemble until the wee morning hours (2:30am this particular year).
I don't know if it was the glass of wine or the extreme fatigue, but I was downright giddy when I fell into bed.
Moreover, despite my good intentions, I'm resigned to the fact that every year there will be a certain toy/candy/clothing that I find in the dark recesses of my closet 'roundabout March that shall remain ungifted.
So what makes a normal Christmas? ("Normal? What does anyone in this family know about normal? We act normal, Mom! I want to BE normal!" -my girl Violet in the Incredibles)
This beleaguered tree and the subsequent photos tell a lot about our current "normal" and how it played out this holiday season.
For instance, for their own protection, no gifts nestled there until after bedtime on the evening of December 24. As we approached the holiday, there were a paltry amount of unbreakable ornaments hung from 40 inches down (Josh's wingspan), with the netting and ribbon ripped off and hastily put back on multiple times. The mid-tier is occupied by homemade baubles while the upper reaches, untouchable except to the well-placed football spiral, play home to my irreplaceable Baccarat and Waterford ornaments.
"Normal" involves gifting a six-year-old with a long history of abrasions and accidents, who is on a first-name basis with the TMH stitches tech, with his very own pack of fireworks.
"Normal" involves me reading this card as fra-jeely, thanks to too many late Eves with The Christmas Story blaring in the background as we assembled toys guided solely by a glass of wine and byzantine Chinese directions.
"Normal" includes Mr. Moneybags (aka Collin) springing for everyone a gift from the WDW souvenir shop at Epcot, perhaps the most overpriced shopping venue on the planet.
"Normal" encompasses me giving my fra-jeely item from said gift shop to a two year old so that he'll stop fussing.
The person who worked so crazy hard to pay for the gifts? Him getting his stocking down last? Well, I suppose, right or wrong, that is our current "normal."
Oh, and it is particularly "normal" for me to percolate Big Plans to stretch my meager cooking skills by making homemade cinnamon rolls, only to discover no baking powder in the cupboard come late night Dec 24. Even Walmart was closed at this juncture. After a crazy vinegar/baking soda substitution, I can only embrace this flukey Christmas morn deliciousness as the new norm.
One absolute "normal" mainstay of Christmas is balls. Not the pretty, fra-jeely, sparkling kind, but the synthetic rubber sort that can be kicked/hit/thrown to death until they lie deflated and moldy and hidden in a bushy area of our yard (only to be replaced by the ball fairies the next Christmas).
As the day wound down and we were stuffed silly with candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup, it only seemed "normal" to take a long walk with Kate Middleton in the woods.
And then to stop
and play games under the strangely creative and unpredictable direction of Dad-- "normal" games that, in a still frame of the camera lens, might seem rather odd.
Take it from the Head Elf---it was pretty darn funny.
Thirty seconds to spell out a word as a team? Unfortunately our "normal" canine audience-of-one has very poor spelling skills and couldn't figure out any of the words. However, she very much enjoys loud antics involving lots of laughing/snorting/other bodily noises from her littermates.
Christmas day ended with a seemingly "normal" moment as Mom's headline gift was run up the grand ole flagpole. Texans will be Texans till the day they die, after all. This normally somber and patriotic moment was made more jolly
by a dancing band of elves doing a cowboy jig and hollering yeehaws while eeking out a broken rendition of "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You" as best as these Florida-born buckaroos could.
Hope you and yours had a very "normal" Christmas, too!