Day 95 – Thankful for Christmas at Mom’s

There’s something pretty powerful about tradition, isn’t there?  While in most of my life I suffer from Shiny Syndrome and am constantly looking for the next new thing, it seems like tradition and the same old same old would drive me crazy.  That said, there are a handful of times in my life in which I long for the usual and am excited for the same old.  Christmas at my mom’s is one of those times.

Every year there are a couple of new twists, old almost forgotten things brought back, and many of the same events, patterns, and foods from the year before, and the year before, and the year before, from as far back as I can remember.  For instance, when I was growing up we always opened presents on Christmas Eve, and no matter how late we arrive to Mom & Brad’s we always open presents that first night.

It would almost seem almost criminal to not start with the food!  There’s a non-stop stream of fantastic eats from huge meals to snacks to desserts to drinks.  The funny thing is that in many cases there’s a pretty cool association between the food and memories.  Christmas just can’t happen until I’ve have my mom’s peanut butter fudge and spritz cookies.  Period.  I know, kind of opposite of what the Grinch says, but it’s one of the ways that I know it is really Christmas.  Big meal (smoked brisket and chicken) after big meal (steak and crab).  Snacks (hold the phone…  Becky just filled me in that my mom is making taco meatballs too…  SCORE!!!!) Where was I again?  Oh yeah, food induced comas!   This year she busted out one of my favorite recipes from when I was a kid and made some cream cheese mint candies that I loved so much as a kid that I included them in a recipe book we made in elementary school.  Did I mention the homemade Bailey’s that always leaves me wanting more?  Of course the food is insanely delicious, but the think I am most thankful for about it is not the taste.  The part of all of the food that I am most thankful for is that my mom goes out of her way and busts her butt to make sure that she makes exactly what each of us like most.  She puts a ton of time and energy into making the foods that each of us like most.

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Before supper we’ll crack open the little mini-snap gifts that contain a small cracker jack style prize and a crown.  We’ll trade out crowns until everyone has the right color and those of us with large heads (me) have one that fits and we’ll laugh at how dorky we all look.  And we’ll enjoy every minute of it!

After supper we’ll play the gift exchange game that we always play, we will antagonize each other as we always do, we will play absolutely cutthroat and steal gifts from everyone including small children, and after all the gifts we win are opened the all seem to get passed around to the person who would like the gift the most.  We have fun being competitive and then have more fun giving stuff to each other.  Behind the scenes is Mom, who spent a ton of time shopping  for and wrapping the small gifts.  As the rest of us smile and have fun together I’m starting to think she has the biggest smile watching us all have a great time together.

I’ve got to cut this off quick, it’s time for appetizers!

To wrap this up, here’s what I appreciate the most about Christmas at Mom’s.  She puts 100% of herself into making sure that Christmas is magical every year.  The Christmas traditions she holds on to are meant to create an incredible family experience that we will remember and cherish for the rest of our lives.  In this she’s incredibly successful as I can remember every single Christmas I’ve had with her.

My mom gets that there’s just a special magic to Christmas, this wonderful excuse to pull family all together and create happiness.  Throughout the entire time she gives and gives and gives and asks nothing in return, all of her energy and focus being put into making it perfect for everyone else.  The thing that I appreciate most about Christmas at my mom’s is that she reminds me of the importance of family and the importance of giving of oneself…  She is the embodiment of the Christmas spirit and for that I am thankful.

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Thanks!!!

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