Home for the Holidays

My excitement for Christmas this year is reaching Buddy the Elf status. To be honest, it’s effortless for me to get worked up for the holidays. I promptly begin singing holiday songs November 1st. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner the stores begin decorating for Christmas, the better. I love the decorations, the chill in the air, the songs, the movies, the stories, the traditions; I’m even a big fan of holiday consumerism. The look of delight on the face of a loved one when they open a gift carefully considered and purchased by me makes me delirious with glee. Seriously. I love it. And this year has the potential to be the best Christmas yet.

Tomorrow evening I begin my journey by making the drive back to New York for the holidays. With any luck, my adorable niece and nephews will be settled in at my mother’s house when I get there, ready for snuggles and giggles galore.  I hope to see them decked out in those adorable thermal jammies that leave their tiny feet bare, perfect for padding circles around the kitchen island while my mother, sisters and I make cookies, drink wine and chat.

Every family has their own traditions that make the holidays magical, wondrous, or — if the thought of spending days with your family members with no escape in sight horrifying – survivable. The following are a few things I’m looking forward to this year…

A Stress-Free Christmas Eve

My mom promised that this year our Christmas Eve would NOT be filled with last-minute shopping. My family typically spends Christmas Eve shopping for stocking stuffers, my mother frantically going over her list of the presents she’s purchased for  14 different people. We spend the evening wrapping present after present until our fingers become so abused with paper cuts that we’re forced to stop. Traditionally there isn’t one single festive thing about how my family spends Christmas Eve. But this year is going to be different – my mom promised. Instead, we will be baking, singing, cooking, drinking, and generally setting the stage for a very merry Christmas.

The Annual Rapid-Action Dope Move Contest

My family is super fun. We’re even more fun when we’ve had a couple glasses of holiday spirits. The memory of the origin of this tradition is a little fuzzy, but I believe that my older brother developed this move one Christmas Eve years ago. The move is performed my extending a single leg perfectly horizontal to the floor, and then swinging it around in a circle as many times as your balance and pride will allow. It’s usually a competition of will between my older brother and I. Everyone else humors us because, well, it’s pretty damn humorous.

The Brushing of the Teeth March

I use to absolutely despise this little tradition as a child. My mom has a thing about morning breath. Her thing is that not a single child will be able to even view the wave of presents on Christmas morning until every person in the household has brushed his/her teeth, one by one. The last part is sinister. We could easily cram that bathroom six children deep, but she would never allow it. Let me reiterate the fact that there are NINE children in my family.


Eight plus one.

Five plus four.

Seven plus two.

There are a lot of us.

Anyway, you can understand why I thought this was such a terrible tradition. Now that I’m older and the overpowering need to open gifts has passed, I think it’s hilarious. I gleefully torture my niece and nephews by covering their eyes as they pass the Christmas tree on their way to the bathroom to brush their teeth – one by one.

I’m so looking forward to getting home for the holidays.

I hope you all have a merry little Christmas.

Stay safe and be grateful.


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