Opinion: Assessing the holidays

The holidays are over, and I finally have a moment to sit down and assess. What went well and what didn’t? What changes, if any, should we make for next year? What gift is already broken and should never have been purchased in the first place? I like to do this exercise because not only does it cement memories into my rapidly-aging brain, but it also forces me to appreciate family, however chaotic our time together was.

And it was chaotic. Doo and I spent the weekend before Christmas with my parents, four sisters and four brothers-in-law (and 11 children) shopping, cooking, eating, gambling (Catholics start early, my friends), movie-going and reveling. We were all holed up in two houses, conveniently located directly across the street from one another, and experienced what can only be described as “Camp Morris.” We stayed in the cabin and had to trek up the hill to the main lodge for coffee, food and fellowship. But when you put that many people in close proximity to one another for more than a day, things can turn dicey. Doo and I for example, got into it at our Christmas Eve Eve’s dinner, and didn’t speak to each other until the next morning. Even worse, a stomach bug ripped through the campgrounds a mere 12 hours after our departure, felling grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews faster than one can say, “More Clorox, please!” Good times, good times.

We saw our own share of puke on Christmas Day at the Wilson’s gathering, in addition to vicariously reliving the woes of parenting small children hopped up on Santa’s visit, candy canes and sleep deprivation. Doo and I could sit comfortably while bedlam ensued (this side has 21 grandchildren, several of whom became armed with marshmallow-shooting guns at some point in the afternoon), commiserating with our suffering comrades and ensuring them that they just had to survive another four to six years for Christmas to be fun again. Throw in a heated tradition vs. change conversation, a couple of kids who didn’t get what they wanted, and the aforementioned vomiting toddler, and you’ve got a fairly standard holiday gathering. More good times, indeed.

In the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to clearly determine how things went. But now that the tree is down (though I am still finding tinsel) and we’re all back into our normal routines, I can honestly rate the 2013 festivities as an A-. We’ll probably make a few slight changes to next year’s holiday schedule, but given that we successfully spent quality time with two large families without offing ourselves or a minion, I’d say it went pretty well. Hope yours did too. Peace out.



Danielle Wilson

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the same year Dick Nixon was elected. Along with my twin sister and three younger sisters, I attended Catholic schools for thirteen years. (Holy Mother, pray for me.) I spent two years as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado until I wised up and transferred to a more normal school, Indiana University, where I received a B.A. in history and a teaching license just for funsies. In 2001, I officially entered the ranks of stay-at-home moms to care for my two-year old son and newborn twins. I have mentally blocked all of 2002 and most of 2003. In 2004, I received a Master’s degree in U.S. History from I.U.P.U.I. and a fourth child from my should-have-had-that-vasectomy-sooner husband. From 2005 until mid-2010, I played Super Mom in the yet-to-be released indie film "Provide Daycare for Your Sister-in-Law's Children Because You Don't Have Enough to Do Already." I returned to teaching this fall at an undisclosed Indianapolis school where thankfully very few parents know who I am. I am considering developing a bad habit.

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