“It’s not the getting, it’s not the giving, it’s the love”*

I know many out there find the holidays to merely be a distraction from the hum-drums of everyday life.  I know that the commercialism of Christmas and the length of the season is utterly ridiculous, stretching always closer to the goal of the industry: to make it a year round shopping event.  I mean, I know many Christmas songs urge us to keep the season of giving in our hearts all year through, but I don’t know that they meant having super-early-bird-sale-extravaganza for 9 months of the year.

But, ultimately, I know that the Holidays are the best excuse for those living far from home to reconnect with the ones we love.  I am not a religious person, and I’m not sure I should even really be celebrating Christmas, but for me it is a tradition that brings joy and laughter and family and friends into my household and always yields much kindness and love.  This year is no exception as many of my family members went above and beyond to make sure I still was able to participate.  Back in August I realized I had really screwed the pooch when my boss told me I had run out of vacation time.  This is my first year in the new job and, really, my first grown up job, so I didn’t really get what a “pro-rated 2 weeks of vacation” meant.  When it came down to it, it meant no Christmas vacation.  I called my mom in tears letting her know I had screwed up so badly.  In BESTMOMEVER fashion she told me it would all be okay.

And it was.  Way to go BESTMOMEVER!!

Because she is lucky to be flanked by BESTDAD and BESTBRO.  BESTBRO really bent over backward to make sure all four of us were together as he sacrificed shifts at his delivery job to join my mom and dad in a trip down to StL.

This, however, wasn’t the end of the awesome that was my Christmas this year.  We usually spend Christmas with my mom’s family and when we asked those of them in Minnesota if they would come out to my parents house the Saturday before to celebrate they all obliged.  They had jobs and kids and other things numerous to compete with, but they changed their plans just so we could all spend the holiday together.

I left StL Friday night after work on a plane and then got to spend Saturday with my extended family in MN.  My nuclear family then drove back down to StL to make sure I was with family on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  The Eve part of this was crucial as the four of us have always spent it together, and we have a very specific dinner which has changed in minuscule ways over the years.  My brother and I staunchly stick to this traditional dinner of steak, lobster (for Mom and Bro), french fries, peas, button mushrooms, crescent rolls, and french silk pie.  Weird? No. It’s AWESOME.  And, with it, came the tradition of much laughter and merriment as the four of us sat around the same table for the first time in probably a year to the day.  George Winston’s “December” played in the background, and candles lit the meal, and even though we were in a hotel room (a pretty swank hotel room I must say) it was home.

If you know what I mean by this, you’re a lucky person.  I know I am.  I may even say that it was a small miracle, with all the pieces falling into place just so, and just at the last minute.  Because my brother was able to take time off and get shifts covered, and I was able to come up the Friday before, and my parents both had the time, and neither my brother nor I have kids and do have understanding significant others, and all those things meant that we four could be together.  It feels like it may be the last time in awhile.

But I know it won’t be the last.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may the true spirit of the Holiday, love and family, be present in your homes.

*Bonus if you know what this is from!

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