In my family, Christmas is, in some ways, just another day. We don’t entertain dreams of being more misanthropic than any other family out there. But, sometimes, the actual day of Christmas is as innocuous as the weekdays that preceded it, and that’s because of people’s work schedules. My uncle, a paramedic, often has work on Christmas Day. My brother’s job permits him to be scheduled on Christmas Day. So, for us, Christmas Eve, or the day after Christmas, is the real family celebration.
This made the night of Christmas Day the opportune time to tell my parents I’m going to South Africa next summer. I found an internship program in Cape Town, and I was already set up to be an editorial intern at The Big Issue magazine. I had the paperwork all printed out, and I handed my mom and my dad a stapled packet of what the program is, where it was, what I would be doing, when I would be leaving, and how much it would cost.
And then my mom rolled her eyes and handed me back the papers.
That was three years ago. I ended up going to Cape Town the summer of 2009. The day after Christmas, everyone in my family knew (and were, somewhat surprisingly, rather supportive, if a bit perplexed).
Christmas lasts for twelve days (sort of), and not just because some song says so. Plenty of time to tell mom what you’d like to do next summer.