Good Morning, Everyone. Thanks for stopping by for a quick cup of coffee.
It is Christmas time. I have pods of espresso and am not afraid to indulge. I intend to offer espresso as an after-dinner treat with dessert, but now that they wait in the pantry, resisting is impossible. This coffee share will have to be quick.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am on a ten-day holiday break from Kindergarten. It was a stressful but festive week.
I have a big Family Christmas Party Saturday afternoon with extended family. This tradition began with my grandma and evolved, as most traditions do, to accommodate life’s changes.
Grandma loved Christmas. She insisted that EVERYONE came to her house to celebrate on Christmas Eve and Day. It was not so much the decorating, shopping, and cooking that she fussed over. She simply wanted EVERYONE together. We had always been an amiable crew. I do not remember a harsh word or slammed door during any of the family gatherings.
In the “old days,” my family piled into the station wagon and drove from Long Island to Brooklyn to stay with Grandma in her flat. Cousins, aunts, and uncles arrived for day trips. We filled that little five-room flat with laughter, food, and play.
When Grandma moved out to the suburbs of Long Island, her house burst with EVERYONE she loved for the holidays. All too soon, her grandchildren were getting married and having kids of their own. Her cozy house could not hold the explosion. We arranged to rent a firehouse or church hall, with kitchen privileges, to have our Christmas parties. Eventually, we no longer party on Christmas Day. There are too many extended families to coordinate, and traffic is horrific. A December date close to Christmas is scheduled.
As Grandma would expect, EVERYONE comes. It is always a group effort. Everyone brings a dish. The kids play tag, jump, and run. A craft table keeps little hands busy. Christmas carols and talents are performed. Santa arrives. We have been doing this for so long, my 30-something kids ask about it every year and make an effort to attend. Grandma and some favorite aunts and uncles are no longer with us. I like to believe they are pleased with this celebration and revel in the chaos.
So today is the day. The espresso has kicked in. I have some last minute grocery shopping to finish, baking, and I am sure something else before heading to the church hall to set up. My youngest daughter flew in from Oregon on Wednesday, my eldest will be here later this afternoon, and my middle daughter and son-in-law are driving from South Carolina with my grandkids. They should arrive in time to get hugged and kissed by EVERYONE.
Before signing off, I want to give a shout-out to Melissa of The Season and Served Blog. Her gingerbread and orange almond biscotti recipes are now in my once a year cookie baking repertoire.
Wishing all of you, My Everyone, a blessed holiday and fun-filled 2019.
Have a good week, Everyone. Make it great.
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.