Merry Christmas! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday with your family and friends. Coming home this month was really good timing, I think. Most folks are in holiday mode, not a lot of work is getting done, and it seems more than appropriate to just chill out this month than to worry too much about getting settled in and what not.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been home for Christmas. During the five years in Japan, I was home just once. It was a lesson learned, as the airports were ridiculous (especially LAX) and most people were too busy with holiday plans to squeeze in a visit. After that year, I either traveled or simply stayed in Japan and prepared for the New Year.
After I returned from Japan, I spent Christmas of 2007 here in San Diego. But by the next year, I was off in Vietnam and spent the last two in Hanoi.
My parents love the holiday and they decorate the front yard with lots of lights and winter scenes. We have penguins sledding down the 2nd story balcony, an ensemble of critters riding a holiday ferris wheel, little snowmen lining the grass and a big polar bear wishing you a happy holiday.
The inside of the house is also decked out with fake snow in the living room and lots of Christmas critters, which NiNi finds fun to play with. One day, she determined that the Christmas bear was hungry. And so my parents helped her put some cookies in front of the bear. When she wasn’t looking, my dad took a bite out of the cookies. Imagine her surprise when she discovered that the bear could eat!
One of my other favorite things about Christmas is the cooking and baking. I’ve baked dozens and dozens of cookies this year and tonight we enjoyed the lasagna I usually make for the occasion. I love being in the kitchen, but have eaten far too many cookies already! They are too yummy!
But by far, the favorite part of the evening was watching my niece open her presents. She’s 2 1/2 and very expressive. Her first present was an zebra print track suit of sorts. She opened it up and exclaimed, “OOooooh! An outift! I LOVE it!” And then she held it up and showed us all and did that little wiggle that little kids do when they are happy, excited and can hardly contain themselves.
I’m glad I made it back in time for the festivities. I hope I started a new tradition of being here instead of missing it all!