Friday, December 24, 2010

My Extreme Christmas

I have to admit that Christmas hasn't always been my favorite time of year. In fact, I'll confess that in years past, I've been a bit of Grinch. But not so in 2010. I made a concerted effort to pull out every bell and whistle in my storage closet, deck the halls with balls of holly, and do Christmas right!

It started with Christmas cards. I did the letter, the photo and sent cards out to twice as many people. I made sure my third cousins in Norway got a card. I reached out to my long-lost cousins in Palm Desert, California. Then I searched every nook and cranny of my house to make sure I found ALL my Christmas decorations. I took inventory, threw out the bad and ugly, then shopped for some more Christmasy stuff. As I entered and exited stores, I stuffed the Salvation Army red bucket with cash, which gave the bell ringer a smile. (I heard business was down.)

After the shopping, I had a Christmas party. And trust me, I pulled out all the stops. No slaving hostess in the kitchen would I be. I got me a fine caterer, who brought poached salmon, prime rib, a ham and the best mashed potatos I've ever had. That caterer sure made me look good, because my guests left this house smiling with a wrapped-up plate of food.

My party guests included an ex-boyfriend who helped me buy my current townhouse that' he hadn't seen before. I invited former job colleagues that I hadn't seen in years. And of course there was my brother and all my friends. The last guest left at 1:30am! That tells me my soiree was a success. As much work as it was, it felt good gathering everyone together in my home to celebrate the season. I plan on having more gatherings.

Today is the grand finale. I will make Christmas Eve dinner for my brother and three nephews. It will be a bittersweet evening because last year both my parents were with us. This year, my dad is dead and my mom decided to stay in Florida. But all five of us are still going to perform the candle tradition I started last year. We each hold a candle then pass the light around the dinner table. As we each light our candle, we give thanks for what we received this past year and express what are dreams are for the coming year.

My final Christmas present to myself? I'm going to see the Broadway play, West Side Story in New York City on Sunday afternoon. It's a musical that I've always adored and have wanted to see live on Broadway for years. Can't wait. Like Elizabeth Edwards--and myself--say, keep on living life to the fullest.

Merry Christmas!

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