Christmas with family always alternates between hysterically funny and infuriating. I’m sure most people can relate 😉 We hit the road early on the 22nd to fly out to Southern California for a week. We used to fly out almost every year to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, but it’s been a few years! I think the last time we were here for Christmas was my sophomore year of high school.
This year was a little different from past years because the youngest member of the family is now 13 and two of us are adults and therefore all of us got to be Santa instead of just
my mother the traditional Santa! In other words, we all got to stuff stockings and give gifts to everyone and go broke, instead of just my mother. This new responsibility made us realize how we’ve made out like bandits for twenty years. Sorry, ma 😉
The six-hour plane ride on the 22nd (there were headwinds) was relatively uneventful, although my youngest brother consumed 7 servings of hot Cheetos and asked for ginger ale every time the flight attendants rolled up. What a nutritious lunch…
The rest of the day was spent in a tired traveler’s stupor, getting settled in and picking fights with each other. Classic 😉
On Saturday, my gramma took my mom and me to her gym so we could complete our respective training. (My mother is a marathoner.) After cross training for one hundred minutes!!, I refueled before heading out to do some last-minute Christmas shopping with my middle brother. He is now a senior in high school and has recently turned into an actual real person (in my eyes), so it was actually really fun to face the harried Christmas crowds and terrible traffic since we just cracked sardonic, somewhat inappropriate jokes the whole time. If you had told my ten-year-old self that my brother and I would be good friends a decade later, I would have probably passed out from laughing so hard.
That night, we feasted on the quintessential Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes for no particular reason. Maybe we were celebrating the fact that we hadn’t all killed each other yet?
And then the older ladies drank wine and recounted shady family history and I discovered that I had almost died when I was born and caused my parents a lot of trauma and honestly the neonatal oxygen deprivation probably explains my screwiness 😉
On Christmas Eve, I cross trained (shocking!) and then baked a lot of cookies. (The best chocolate chip cookies, and the best molasses cookies).
My family is sometimes really extra when it comes to cooking, and I horrified my brother by using Trader Joe’s pre-made garlic and herb pizza dough instead of his homemade from-scratch dough for our Christmas Eve tradition of homemade pizza night. Sorry, bro…
After pizza night, we went to the Christmas Eve church service, which was lovely even though I was in a pizza-and-cookies-and-jet-lag-induced coma.
Due to a combination of jet lag and naturally being awfully early risers, we were up and ready to go at 6 am on Christmas morning. While my middle brother’s and my own crack-of-dawn Christmas enthusiasm has dimmed over the years, my youngest brother continues to resemble the offspring of the Energizer Bunny and a puppy hopped up on treats. At least we got to witness a beautiful sunrise…
We opened stockings and then I went for a run! 7 miles along the Santa Clara river trail. It was glorious. My hip flexor tightened up a bit buuuut still glorious. Afterwards, we gorged ourselves on breakfast and finished opening gifts.
We hit the road at 11 am (after what had already been a very long day) to go visit my grandfather and his wife at their home. My grandpa is an interesting individual, to put it lightly. We spent the afternoon reminiscing, almost peeing our pants laughing at various family members, going through old pictures, gorging ourselves on too-rich food, and finding gems like this:
After a veeeerrrryyy long day, we arrived back at 8 pm and I died. I was fast asleep by 9, fat, happy, content, exhausted, and suffering from mild food poisoning. Woke up at 5 (again) and crushed a cross train and lift with my mom and grandma.
All in all, Christmas with the family was (mostly) awesome, and I know I have so much to be thankful for. Even if the youngest generation always tends to regress in age in the eyes of the older generation…but I feel like that always happens. Good food, pie comas, sore abs from laughing so hard, giving and receiving gifts, and everything else always makes for a memorable experience. It doesn’t hurt that it’s almost 80 degrees and sunny, and I’ve been lounging around reading a book and waiting to run!