Happy Holidays!

The holidays are upon us! Really – if you aren’t already celebrating, you will be in a few days. The Christmas Spirit is alive and well in my house – how can it not be with a 15 year old and a 7 year old bouncing off the walls?
Personally, I do like this time of year – everyone is happy, generous, smiling. People say thank you and wish you a happy holiday. Most of my shopping is done, so I haven’t had to deal with too many irritated shoppers – I take a day or two off every year in early December to do marathon trips, and this year, I was extremely successful on both trips and knocked just about everyone off my list. Everything else was purchased online.
The tree and Christmas City are set up, the cookies are baked, presents are in the process of being wrapped. Christmas songs, both traditional and modern, are being played most of the time. The Chipmunks are heavy in the rotation – with kids, what do you expect?
I haven’t been this organized in several years. It feels weird. I’m used to having to run around for days for the one person who I can’t figure out what to get. Scrambling to assemble plates of cookies to give, ship or bring. Making sure the kids have holiday clothes that fit for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We celebrate both days equally – and the festivities begin after church on Christmas Eve.
With my husband’s family, we do the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Although, since certain people who were the only ones to eat certain dishes are no longer with us, a few of the fishes have fallen by the wayside – like the octopus cooked in its own ink. I still remember that first Christmas Eve with his family, when DH, who was only my boyfriend at the time, brought me into the kitchen to show me. His grandfather was the only one who ate that. I couldn’t even look at it – and I’m a daring eater. I’ll try/eat just about anything. Except spinach. And peas. But oddly, I love pea soup. Anyway….
After dinner, we all gather around and open our presents, then go back for dessert and packing up the mountains of toys the kids have accumulated. Get home around midnight, spend a few hours playing Santa and setting up, then fall asleep before we are awakened before dawn to see what Santa left.
After breakfast, we head out to spend the day with my family. My mother, being Irish, has her own take on the Feast. We call it the Feast of the Seven Potatoes. She makes mashed, candied sweets (though that has now become my responsibility), au gratin, and boiled. It’s not really seven, but it’s become a running joke in our little corner of the world. We could add fries, and maybe has browns, I suppose, but that would be overkill. Or maybe not. I’ll have to bring that up and see how it’s received. Of course, Mom serves lots of other things too – her Merlot sauce to accompany the filet roast is to die for, and she makes really awesome stuffing (to go with the turkey breast – there’s a lot of us).  
When it’s all done, and we’re crashing back at home, it’s hard to believe that for all the weeks of prep, it’s over in two short days. You think back, and realize what a blur the month of December has been. The kids’ excitement level lowers considerably, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s is spent in a fairly calm manner. I especially like the fact my company shuts down every year for that week, so it’s easy to recharge the batteries then.

In honor of this giving season, my gift to you is a copy of one of my titles – tell me about your traditions and you could win one of your choice. 

I wish you all a joyous holiday season and I hope you enjoy every moment with lots of love and laughter! And I hope the upcoming New Year brings lots of success and happiness!