Merry Christmas!

   Ah, Christmas, my favorite holiday. There is no part of Christmas I don’t love. I love the shopping and the wrapping, the baking and the lights, the giving of the gifts and the trimming of the tree. I love holiday movies, even the sappy ones. I love Christmas music – except for Feliz Navidad. That song is super annoying.

   My favorite of all the traditions, though, is the big day itself. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you already know I have a large, loud family. I am one of five children, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Oh, no. There are thirteen grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one more on the way. We are a prolific bunch. Throw in significant others and any strays we’ve managed to collect over the year and you’ll understand why the theme for any family gathering is chaos.

   Like a plague of holiday crazed locusts, we descend on my mother’s house. Because of the size of our brood and competing familial obligations, dinner is an early afternoon affair served buffet style. We aren’t the type to chat over hors d’oevres and cocktails for several hours before the feast begins, either. No, sir. You can bet when my mother says dinner will be served at one pm, the meal will be ready and waiting at twelve thirty. And, speaking of waiting, no one waits. It’s not uncommon to have one family member halfway through dessert before another has started their entrée. Hence, the beauty of a buffet. We filter in and out throughout the day, alternating our gluttony with periods of rejuvenation. By rejuvenation, I mean sitting on the couch in a food coma.

   But, wait! It’s not all about the food, of course. We can’t forget about the gifts. In years past, before our clan became so overwhelmingly large, everyone bought presents for everyone. Sounds sweet, right? Nope. It was insane. There was no orderly passing out of the largesse. Not in our house. Each time another faction of the clan arrived, the living room became a frenzied mass of shredded wrapping paper and squealing children. The kids barely noticed who handed them the gift, so absorbed were they with the act of stripping their new treasure of it’s festive covering. Fortunately, we’ve since toned things down a bit. Now, each Thanksgiving the children names are placed in a hat to be chosen Secret Santa style by one of the other children. Except, nothing is secret. This is mainly because no one would remember who chose who. We need a list to keep track. I must admit, the kids love this new tradition. They enjoy shopping for one of their cousins almost as much as they enjoy receiving their own gifts.

   In this busy, hectic life, Christmas is one of the few days of the year when we take a break and spend time reflecting on the joys we often overlook. Sure, there were hard times throughout the year. We’ve loved and lost, fought and made up, laughed and cried. But, in the end, we’re a family. So, although much of the year we may be separated by work, school and legal obligations (we won’t mention any names here), Christmas day is time of family, togetherness and reconnecting. Our holiday is filled with the love and peace of the season.

   Ha ha ha! Just kidding. Our day will be filled with boisterous conversation, Becky’s inappropriate stories and rambunctious children. The peace will only last until the wine starts flowing or someone steals the last piece of Snickerdoodle pie.

   In any event, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas* and Happy Holidays.

   *If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still wish you a pleasant December 25th.

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