The Merriest of Christmases

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Christmas Eve baking started bright and early.
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Pulling out my grandmother’s old recipes. I love the name of this one.
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Not even half the butter we wound up using by the end of the day.
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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.
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Stepping out into the sparkling cold of the city on Christmas morning after mass.
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The cats found plenty of distractions while we unwrapped gifts.
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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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