Vol. 333 No.110
'Twas not quite the night before Christmas -- actually it’s least a week before The Day. Of course you’ve already finished all your shopping, wrapped all your goodies with fun paper and fantastic ribbons and bows, and placed each present carefully under the tree, showing off their gloriousness. And when there’s no more room, you will then place the remaining gifts in artistic displays next to the tree, maybe a spot light illuminating on your creation. Is there even a slim chance of all this happening before you’re reading "Twas the night before Christmas" to your kids, your grandkids, your other half?
Because I have an acknowledged condition called OES -- Overactive Elf Syndrome -- all my friends and family held an intervention that didn’t help, I wrapped and wrapped Christmas gifts beginning with the start of Pro Football in early September, finishing two weeks ago. All boxes to all my incredible family are out of the house and in Fed Ex’s overflowing hands. I find with each Christmas, there are more and more presents needed since all my incredible family must needs procreate and keep procreating until I will finally have to buy Toys 'r Us.
The whole kit and kaboodle (I’m talking family) will meet in South Orange, New Jersey, in a house built in 1906 --- a grand old place, but the question of stuffing 45 people in the dining/living room will be a challenge. What a silly word that is. No, what’s necessary is a planned stacking maneuver, at least with those under 5, and an 'intimate’ stacking maneuver for all those over that magic age, whose horizons have considerably expanded. Oh dear, I hope it won’t lead to more procreation. Christmas Eve is traditional – all 45 stacked and intimate people eating gobs of food passed around the tables until hands ache and thighs bulge. Thank goodness for stretchy pants. Then it’s unwrapping presents, which is chaos, insanity and beyond, no, really -- and ends in a dozen garbage bags stuffed with shredded paper, discarded bows and mangled ribbon, maybe an unwanted present or two. Can you imagine what the under five-year-olds are doing at this point?
Christmas Day begins with late morning mass followed by a ginormous Italian deli banquet set out in the entrance hall, tubs packed with ice and giggle water surrounding the laden tables, all provided by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who –- let’s hear it -- own an Italian restaurant and are generous to a fault. Maybe that’s better than Toys 'r Us.
And then? Multiple snoozing after stuffing down canolis and raviolis and spirits – oh my.
Does all this sound familiar? Don’t forget, even if you don’t have to stack kids to fit everyone at the dining table, even if there’s only two of you or just you and your cat, Christmas is still the perfect time to be grateful for friends, family, your critters, the glorious sunrise every morning.
Merry Christmas --