The Merriest of Christmases

Christmas Eve baking started bright and early.
Pulling out my grandmother’s old recipes. I love the name of this one.
Not even half the butter we wound up using by the end of the day.
Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This is the fourth year in a row that we have gone to St. Pat’s – the service is still absolutely breathtaking.
Stepping out into the sparkling cold of the city on Christmas morning after mass.
The cats found plenty of distractions while we unwrapped gifts.
Dinner antics. My family is perfectly ridiculous.

The Christmases of my childhood were riotous, a crush of visitor after visitor, food that flowed freely and conversation punctuated by equal parts laughter and silence.  For awhile, there was even a boyfriend who rounded out every Christmas gathering, a boy who slipped easily into my family and adopted our traditions as his own.  The day often passed in a blur; I remember very few specific moments – just intensely, wildly experienced happiness.

For the past three years, my family has spent Christmas as a singular unit. My mother’s only brother moved to Texas when I was a senior in high school, and we celebrate with my father’s side later in the week, so Christmas day is rather quiet.  I think my parents miss the bustle of the day, and so do I, in a way.  The lull at the end of December only increases my desire for a large extended family with which to celebrate the holidays.

But for now, there is just us five. But the just-us-five is more than enough for me.  We had the merriest, most blessed of Christmases, filled with good food, wonderful movies, and my father’s perpetually terrible jokes (which I not-so-secretly adore).

I hope you all had a wonderful past few days.  Happy Holidays, and to those who celebrate, Merry Christmas.


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