This Christmas turned out to be a lot of fun, despite the seasonal stress that led up to it, due to working in retail HELL. I still didn't get into the Christmas mood like I usually do, but managed to enjoy the holiday none the less.
Christmas Eve started out with a short morning shift at work (8am-noon). I actually enjoy working Christmas Eve. That is when the company has its annual "pig out" where all the associates bring food and cookies, and gather in the break room for a small party. There was a lot of hugging and laughs among the associates, wishing each other a Merry Christmas and congratulating ourselves for surviving yet another holiday season.
Much to my surprise, one of my dear friends and co-workers gifted me with several presents. One was a chili set, with all the spices and beans to make a pot of chili (which I LOVE this time of year), as well as one "special" gift. It was a set of playing cards with R-rated (not X-rated) men on them! I laughed SO hard when I opened them!! I was showing them off the rest of my shift, and asking people to play me in a game of "five card STUD".
After, I went to Jason's to see his first Christmas tree in his new home (and I'm kicking myself for not taking my camera with me). He put up a BEAUTIFUL tree this year, and I'm amazed at all the work he has put into his home. It gets better looking each time I visit. We had a nice chat over tea before our friend Nick joined us for some holiday cheer. We went out to an early dinner at a local BBQ restaurant/bar in the city, and had a wonderful time.. just the three of us.
Because of dinner with Nick and Jason, I was about an hour and a half late to Dad's side for dinner (which was fine with me). I got there just as they were serving dinner!! I passed on the food, since I was still full, but sat down with everyone to gab. I enjoyed watching the kids open their presents, and shoot the shit with my cousin Jennifer... my favorite cousin on Dad's side.. she's awesome!!
I went to Christmas day Mass, which was beautiful as always. It's so nice to start off my holiday with such on such an uplifting note. Another co-worker, who attends this Mass, surprised me with yet another gift.. this time, chocolate (as half naked men would not be as appropriate at Church!). It was a very nice gesture, and a pleasant surprise.. though my thighs will not be a grateful.
Joey and Katie, along with Uncle Vinny stopped over that morning to open presents with us. Santa was very generous to all of us, especially to me... Uncle Vinny surprised me with not one, but TWO of the heavy brass pillar candle holders I have been wanting from Design Tuscano, but could never afford for myself. I was so thrilled to get the two of them that I ran down to my sitting room to take them out of the boxes and put them out on display. In the mean time, Dad was busy playing with the new digital camera I bought him.. Kodak of course! (We have stock in the company.. lol)
Aunt Karen joined us for the evening, as Uncle Vinny and Uncle Tony brought her over from hospice to be with us. We didn't know what to expect with her being here in her deteriorated condition, but she did very well, all things considering. She cried every time she saw someone, or when she opened her presents (she gets very emotional now). She slept through much of dinner, but was wide awake for dessert, and had her fair share of cookies and chocolate fudge. We were so happy to see her eating, and told her to "live it up!". By the end of the night, we were able to hear and understand her very easily, which was a remarkable improvement from earlier in the evening when we could not hear her, even with an ear right up to her face. She did suffer from some delusions, but managed to snap back to reality quickly enough... unlike the rest of us who seem to be in a world of our own most times.
I'm very thankful for having spent my Christmas with my family and close friends, and loved having them all with me. They helped me to remember the real meaning of Christmas and forget about the nastiness of the world.. if only for a short while.