Last year, I didn’t have the chance to be home for Christmas. Although I enjoyed the white Christmas, I was so happy I got to have a traditional holiday with my friends and family. Oh, and did I mention it was 75 °F this weekend?
Thursday night, the roommates and I sat down to exchange gifts and watch Love Actually.
All of the gifts were outstanding, but I’d have to say a highlight may have been Amanda’s gift to Matt: tabletop bags game. An instant hit, Matt proceeded to play this miniature version at random points in the night.
Friday night marked the annual family dinner at Domenico’s in Long Beach. This tradition has existed for many decades in the Bay family, but as member of the younger generation, I will always associate it with Uncle Dan.
Each year we look forward to sitting down, and letting Uncle Dan take the reins. There is no need to look at the menu, no unnecessary debate, you just sit there, and miraculously, chianti and food appears. If that’s not Christmas magic I don’t know what is. The dinner features salad with their special creamy, garlic dressing, pizza with ground pepperoni, and ravioli. Always delicious.
Following dinner, we walk through the canals in Naples to gawk at the gorgeous lights and the gorgeous homes. This year, somebody got real creative and re-created the Griswold house from Christmas Vacation. If you look closely you can see Clark hanging from the gutter, Uncle Louis smoking a stogie, and Cousin Eddie emptying his ummm….”toilet”.
Christmas Eve means beef wellington- a meal I long for all year. Patrick and Casey made the effort to fly in from Oklahoma to spend the holiday with us. Their flight was scheduled to arrive after 8pm, so my mom whipped up several courses to enjoy until the newlyweds got home.
Casey and Pat endured a horrific day of travel only a couple days prior, so we (and they) were glad they arrived without drama, and ahead of schedule. The courses of soup and ceviche staved off hanger (hunger that causes anger/crankiness), and we were all still ready for the main event. The wellington was, of course, incredibly delicious.
Christmas Day! Christmas is a three house marathon of gift opening and eating. We begin the morning at our own home, then move on to Grandma’s house for brunch, finishing up at Aunt Nancy’s house for dinner and dessert. Although it can be tiring, I appreciate the opportunity to see so much of my family in one day. Although our family is spreading out geographically with people in Washington, Texas, Sacramento, Humboldt and Afghanistan/North Carolina we were lucky that so many of us had the ability and made the effort to come home.
After honeybaked ham and cinnamon rolls at Grandma’s, we somehow made room in our bellies for prime rib at Aunt Nancy’s.
An evening with the Dillons always includes a bit of ribbing, drinking and more ribbing. Pat caught a bit of flack for his lame wish list, but seemed genuinely excited to receive the shredder he’d asked for.
After gifts, cookies and eggnog, Beth graciously broke out her dulcimer and played a couple songs.
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!
oh, p.s. a look at Christmas around the world