A Tale of Two Christmas’s
"George, I can't wait until the family gets here, they are going to love you," Mary told him as they walked into the cabin. After their wedding took place after knowing each other for six months, they were excited and a bit apprehensive to introduce their new spouse to their children. They chose Aspen to celebrate Christmas and invited both of their families. It was neutral territory and they were hoping the expensive ski vacation would butter their families up.
Sidney, Mary's oldest daughter, and her three children were the first to arrive. They were from Kansas so they were able to drive in. Alex, George's son needed to be picked up from the airport at noon from Washington, DC. Stan, Elizabeth, and Claire were flying in the next morning. Elizabeth had two small children and she was bringing her husband Steve. Claire was from Austin and was a high paid executive who chose career over family, at least for now. Stan was bringing his teenage children and wife and planned on skiing every day during the week long vacation. He was a real estate agent from Tennessee and didn't get much time off.
One by one the children arrived and settled into their separate bedrooms. The cabin was gorgeous with rustic lodge decor and several fireplaces. There was plenty of room for the extended family. George and Mary were delighted with the accommodations. It was expensive to rent for a week but if everything went as planned it would be worth it. Mary and George were both in their fifties so they weren't worried about the children getting along as siblings in the same household but they did want to be able to spend the holidays with them.
The evening started well with both families. The children were raised properly by both sets of parents and were very respectful of meeting their parent's new spouse. Mary and George were both widowed and they had waited an appropriate amount of time before dating so the children had no complaints or judgment of their relationship. Everyone was getting along well and Mary and George were thrilled.
George rented a large van after he and Mary arrived at the airport from Las Vegas so the family could travel together, It would hold fifteen passengers. George suggested to the family that they go to the tree lot in Aspen after dinner and pick out a Christmas tree. Mary thought it was a lovely idea. She said they could pop some popcorn and string it like a garland around the tree and the entire family could add homemade decorations. The tree was decorated beautifully and Mary's family, Sidney, Claire, and Stan sang Christmas carols as the paper star was added to the top of the tree. What a wonderful evening Mary told George as they retired for the night.
The next morning, all of the children woke early to head to the slopes, they still had a couple of days before Christmas and they were planning on getting as much skiing in as possible. Stan's children were old enough to ski unlike Elizabeth's but since George and Mary didn't ski they agreed to keep the small ones so she could enjoy herself. After a long day of skiing, everyone came back to the cabin to enjoy another dinner. Mary chose to cook for the family and prepared quite a feast. George had failed to mention that his granddaughter, Lindsey was a vegan. Mary tried to find something the poor girl would eat but knew little to nothing about what she permitted herself to eat.
Christmas dinner would be different Mary thought. She enlisted the entire family to write down the food that they wanted for Christmas. She and George would go to the store and buy everything that was needed to have a wonderful Christmas dinner that pleases everyone. She also asked everyone to write what they wanted to eat on Christmas Eve night. This way, she told George everyone would be happy.
George and Mary went to the store and picked up everything on the list. There was bologna, ham, sweet potatoes, Chex cereal, nuts, cream cheese, shrimp, anchovies, bacon, potatoes, cocoa, peanut butter, m, and m's. There was so much food and in very strange combinations. Mary wondered how they could bring it all together and make a presentable meal. After they carried all the groceries in the children got to work. The first thing that Elizabeth grabbed was the m and m's and Chex mix along with rice noodles. Sidney asked if it was a Chex mix recipe and Elizabeth told her she was making reindeer food.
Sidney's mouth flew open, and she ran in where her mother was and asked her mother if she knew. Mary looked at her daughter and told her that George and she had never discussed it. Sidney said Mom, how could you marry a man and never discuss it. Mary said that this was their first Christmas and she hadn't even thought about asking him his views on Santa.
George walked into the room as Sidney was leaving and Mary asked him how he celebrated Christmas. He said, well, we make reindeer food, leave Christmas cookies and milk for Santa and open our presents on Christmas morning. Mary went white like she had seen a ghost and asked George how he could practice such a lie. George was taken aback and asked Mary what did she mean. Mary told him the only reason for the season was the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and wondered how he could ever lie to his children and grandchildren about a man that ran around in a red suit that had eight magical reindeer. George told Mary he believed in Jesus and knew that was the real reason for the season but felt it was harmless to let the little ones believe in the magic of Christmas. Mary told George she had to disagree and felt like if he lied to his children about Santa Claus and then they discovered it was untrue that they wouldn't believe him when he told them about God. They would think it was a lie also. It would be hard to convince them after such a lie of the presence of God who they were unable to see but rely on by faith.
George told Mary that the children opened their presents on Christmas and they were happy and it didn't take away from Jesus. Mary told George that the presents were to be opened on Christmas Eve and were to be from the parents, not Santa.
It seems we have come to an impasse stated George, we definitely should have talked about this before we got married. Mary stormed off saying you probably put the X instead of Christ in Christmas as she slammed the door and went to bed.
George and Mary both went to bed wondering how they could fix the controversy. They hadn't known each other for very long before they decided to get married and wondered if they had made a major mistake. All of George's children‘s life he had taught them Santa existed and loved the magical time of year. He passed on his traditions to them and them to their own families. He loved Mary but didn't want to sacrifice his children's Christmas to her beliefs. Mary was feeling the same way as George, she loved him also but had always taught her children about Mary and Joseph traveling to Nazareth to give birth to Jesus in a manger, and talk of Santa was never allowed in their home.
After sleeping on it Mary and George woke up the next morning and decided to make their Christmas happy for everyone. The house was large enough to accommodate two Christmas's. Mary's family could have their gift opening on Christmas Eve and never waiver from their religious beliefs and George's family could wait until Christmas morning to unwrap their presents with the joy that old St. Nick stopped by on their side of the cabin.
It wasn't perfect for the family's first Christmas together but they realized they could come up with a better solution for the following year. Divorce was not an option, Mary and George loved each other but they realized that after the holiday in Aspen was over and everyone returned home, they needed to have a little discussion about EASTER.....