I just love Christmas. I love all of the festive decorations inside and outside of houses, I love the cookies and the songs, and I admit I love presents. But I especially love that at this time every year I see more of my family than any other time. Our lives are always so busy that at other times of the year I don't get up to visit my Mem or see my young cousins as much as I would like, but at Christmas time all other things are set aside to make time for family. Now, don't get me wrong, all of the above come with a giant ball of stress attached as well. I have to find time to shop, mail cards, and travel all over the greater New England area to see our families. We run a gauntlet every year starting a week before the 25th and not ending until almost New Years Eve, hitting up four family parties with social events among friends scattered in between. And while each year we stress and get super busy and a bit tired from traffic and travel, it is a time when we always make some of the best memories of the year.
Here are some of my favorites that I count on each and every year or treasure from years past:
- My mom baking my brother and I our own batch of cherry-kiss cookies
- My dad and step mom hiding a pickle ornament in the tree to be found for a prize
- My Pep separating his gifts into two piles: "the good pile" and "the clothes pile"
- My brother waking up at 6:30 am every Christmas morning, even as a teenager, because he was so excited
- Sitting in front of a warm and cheery fire to talk and laugh
- The amazing magic of Santa as kid when we walk down the stairs in the morning and find presents he had left for us in the night
- The fact that Santa (aka my dad) ate our cookies and milk and left us a note of thanks for them every year!
- The large family dinners where we stuff ourselves and then make room for dessert
- Baking and decorating cookies with Mom and Mem
- Having a post-dinner cigar with my step dad, much to my mother's chagrin
- Joining Scott's mom for cinnamon rolls at breakfast a walk after dinner along the scenic Newport streets and cliff walk
- Singing along to Scott playing the guitar at his dad's house on Christmas Eve, while his grandmother belted out her favorite carols
- Watching my pug Milo "open" his treats each year - which he has a knack for finding in the middle of a pile of presents, wrapped and all!
And there are so many more! So even though I complain sometimes or get stressed out, I have this list of beautiful memories to put it all in perspective and remind me that all the hustle and bustle is worth it. I have so much wonderful family and so much love in my life I can't help but feel truly blessed this and every Christmas.