This will be my very first Christmas away from my family. We moved to the Pacific Northwest in March and have very much enjoyed the change, despite our current economic circumstances. Our surroundings are beautiful, the city culture is a dream, and our friendships and community of support has been more than we could have ever imagined.
The holidays away from family, though, is hard. Thanksgiving seemed quiet and vacant. Strange. We are very much home bodies, so Christmas Eve at home will be nothing out of the ordinary, next to the fire. Christmas Day, though, will be particularly unfamiliar .
I have amazing memories the holidays growing up. I fondly remember the excitement of Christmas Eve, spending the day awaiting Dad’s arrival home from his annual Eve shopping trip downtown. All four of us would outdo ourselves for church, only to be reckoned by “The Fitzgerald Family Curse.” This is what we all came to refer to it as – extreme punctuality. The family’s departure time would be made known, and then all four of us, no matter what and always unintentional, would convene in the family room 10-15 minutes early. At that point, Mom, Dad, and the two girls would find a seat and awkwardly stare at each other until Dad would announce, “the boat’s leaving.” This curse, by the way, was not unique to Christmas. Any formal “event” requiring a scheduled retreat resulted in this early time of silence. This makes me smile.
Depending on the year, Christmas Eve dinner of Nancy’s soup and Mom’s special Christmas Salad would be enjoyed with special family friends either before or after church. Before dinner, Dad and I would dance. Canon in D. George Winston. It takes my breath away.
One gift. We were each able to select just ONE gift to open on Christmas Eve – before the big day. This was more than special.
Christmas memories are so many things. Family, love, blessings, smiles, and M&M breath. Yep. My dear old dad has an insatiable appetite for peanut M&M’s and I absolutely adore the sweet aroma wafting from the lips of those just consumed. Christmas time means red and green peanut M&M’s. In honor of Dad and the memory, I am willing them, desperately feeding them to my hubby, if only to catch the scent. Peanut M&M’s (mostly the red and green ones) really make me happy.
Oh, and I adore my mother’s peanut butter balls. ADORE them.