Nobody Puts Kenzie In The Corner: Merry Christmas(?)

17. Have an unconventional holiday


by Mackenzie O'Guin, Managing Editor of Copy

I was in high Christmas spirit the first week of October. I was rehashing the Sinatra Christmas classics while the Thanksgiving turkeys were still getting shot and sent to market. To the constant disgust of those around me, in the months preceding December, I had Christmas spirit. By the time December 24th hit, I had none. This might be partially because my work schedule forced all my holiday shopping to almost exclusively two days: the last day of finals and Christmas Eve. It was also partially because, for the first time, my maternal great-grandparents would not be hosting Christmas dinner.

Those of you who know me know I love routine. Tradition. Largely due to the overwhelming business ever-occupying my household, my childhood always had an air of chaos and instability. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; I love my family and our unconventionality. But, living in a permanent anxious rush makes you crave very basic consistency. That’s why my personal day-to-day decisions are steeped in unexciting predictability – same coffee shop every day, same three black tee shirts, same couple songs on repeat. That’s also what I like about holidays. Every year is some version of the same plan. In the morning, my mother, my little brother Travie, and I go to my maternal grandparents’ house for Grandpa’s Christmas Morning Pancakes (the best in the world, of course). My father sleeps in. We come home to my father and open presents as a family. The O’Guin family takes gifting seriously, so this will take several hours. Late afternoon comes to pass and my parents, brother, and I head to my maternal great-grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner. My dad and I make a beeline for the mini-cheesecakes, which we wait all year for. See? This I can count on. I know that at least one day out of the year will go more or less to the tune I previously described.

But, that’s sort of expectation (or, dare I say, dependency) is naive. That’s not life. Life is unexpected and very messy and does not care how much I’d really appreciate a concrete plan. Life decided to throw a little wrench in that plan in the form of a family death that led my great-grandparents out of town over Christmas. I’ll spare details, but obviously, that switched up the family Christmas plans.

So, what did my family do on Christmas?

We went to a Brazilian steakhouse.

Yeah, the kind with the salad buffets and cute Brazilian waiters carrying around skewers of red meat.

And, it was awesome.

I always viewed holidays like Christmas with a certain sacredness. Not in a hyper-religious or “the ones we love are the meaning of Christmas” way, but just in regards to tradition meaning a big dinner and seeing your entire massive extended family. But, this year I felt kind of stupid. That interpretation of Christmas is so narrow. That’s just the Christmas knew. But, everyone’s traditions are different. As we drove to our Brazilian steakhouse Christmas dinner, the cinema was packed with people, probably all waiting to see those “Released Christmas Day” films. I wondered in maybe that was their family tradition, seeing a movie every year on Christmas. I kinda like the idea. I might adopt it when I’m older. I saw a few small gifts exchanged at the booth behind us at dinner. That was their Christmas evening. It wasn’t like a Hallmark movie at all, and I loved it.

With that, I hope your holidays were magical. I hope your families are healthy. And, I hope your holiday routines are ruthlessly changed at least once, if you can handle the disruption to routine.

P.S., if obsessive, vaguely neurotic Mack can handle mixing it up, I got a feeling you’ll be okay. (;

So long and goodnight,

Mackenzie Nicole O’Guin

Special thanks to my mother for pulling an all-nighter with me Christmas Eve into Christmas, my father for solving the big problems like “Should we go to the Brazilian steakhouse or Chinese buffet for Christmas dinner?”, my little brother Travie for making the holidays wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy more entertaining, and the waiters at Porto Do Sul for looking the way you do. I KNOW A LITTLE CONVERSATIONAL PORTUGUESE *WINK* *WINK* (CALL ME PLEASE).