Every family has their own traditions around Christmas.
My Christmas Eve was always spent at a large family gathering, alternating each year between the maternal and fraternal sides of the family. It was usually the only time of the year I got to visit with most of my cousins.
After waking up really, really early on Christmas morning and watching the clock tick toward 7:30 a.m. (the “official” time when my brother and I were allowed to leave the confines of our bedrooms), we would wake my parents so that we could start unwrapping presents.
After cleaning up the wrapping paper, we enjoyed a filling brunch before heading to church.
After the service, we would travel to enjoy Christmas dinner with the other side of the family.
Fast-forward 40 years. My grandmothers were the magnets for our family and, since their passing, I rarely see my uncles, aunts and cousins.
The day has evolved to become more about our immediate family and local “orphans” — people who have recently moved to the valley and have no family of their own with whom to spend
The celebrations still begin on Christmas Eve and continue throughout Christmas Day, involving stockings and chocolate oranges, presents, and an incredible feast prepared lovingly by my wife and shared by our family and our aforementioned orphans.
It’s a time to share stories, laughter and camaraderie and to remember members of the family who are no longer with us.
May your family enjoy the holidays with your own unique traditions, and may 2016 bring health and prosperity.