Sunday, December 26, 2010

I love Christmas

I really love the Christmas season, and for some reason this year was even more enjoyable than years past. Maybe it’s because last year was the first Christmas I’d ever spent away from Seattle, so I had two years’ worth of build up. The early advertisements didn’t bother me and I happily listened to Christmas music at every opportunity, only reaching my saturation point on Christmas day itself – perfect timing.

I planned my company’s holiday party, attended a lovely Hanukah dinner (mmm, latkes!), and went to half a dozen other Christmas parties and dinners - including a Santa-themed pub crawl and a dinner where I roasted my very first duck - before the big day. The duck was delicious!

The most memorable of these was Adam’s yearly Christmas party, in which guests are advised: “don’t come as you are . . . come a little bit better.” This results in a normally casual group transformed into a sharply dressed crew. Adam goes all out, including providing a top-shelf bar meant to last well into the night, decorating to the nines, and dressing as Santa and subjecting himself to an hour or more of Santa pictures. I didn’t make it home until 6 am and it was definitely the party of the year.

Contrary to the stereotypical stress-inducing family, mine is a joy to be with on Christmas day (and otherwise). We have very few obligations and a long-standing tradition of staying in our PJs all day – no one comes and no one goes. We make Chex Mix, drink hot buttered rum, watch movies, and play board games.

Of course, before all of that we open presents. Ever since we were kids, my parents have treated Christmas as the one day of the year when we’re extravagant, from sweet to savory, from decorations to gifts. Growing up without a lot of money, this was a particularly touching feat, one we didn’t fully appreciate until we were adults. This year was no different, but now that the kids are adults we give each other great gifts, too. All in all a very satisfying and relaxed morning of ripping open wrapping paper, pausing to eat overnight waffles, and finishing off at a leisurely pace. Another difference is that as adults we can stretch gift-opening until the early afternoon. Here is my sister displaying a fan of incense samplings and my dad figuring out his new Kindle in the background:

The only bummer was that I got the 24-hour flu, from about 2 pm Christmas day until pretty much right now. It was, as the flu goes, quite mild, which doesn’t mean it was fun (I’m not sure which was worse, puking or missing out on all the good eats) but at least I recovered quickly because I go to Mexico tomorrow!

I’ll be touring the Yucatan peninsula for the next 2 weeks. I’ve been dying to get back to Mexico ever since my last trip when I went to Oaxaca and the Southern coast for my 24th birthday. Five years later I’ll be spending New Year’s and my 29th birthday amid Mayan ruins and next to the Caribbean sea.

So, happy end of the holiday season to all of you, stay tuned for vacation highlights, and I'll see you in the new year!

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