Ah December! The last month of the year. Many people are busy shopping for holiday gifts, decorating their homes, finalizing end-of-the-year reports, baking treats and celebrating with loved ones. December is so much more than that to me! In the month of December, I’m able to celebrate nearly 10 birthdays of family & friends (including my own) and spend Christmas with two amazing families.
Part two of my Holiday posts is Christmas Present and what December means to me which is Family and Traditions.
Family Fun on Christmas – Each year my Mom hosts the McMahon side of the family at her home for Christmas. There are so many great memories we’ve had on those holidays like playing LRC with my cousins, listening to the Paddy Noonan Christmas Album, “traveling” well into our 2pm dinner time and watching my cousin spit milk out of his nose at the kids table. One Christmas, my cousin Micheal’s son Mikey who was about four years old at the time was playing with my mom’s Precious Moments Nativity set. As much as we told him not to play with it, there he was dancing the little animals around baby Jesus. A few hours later when he was saying his goodbyes, he walked up to me totally unprompted, reached in his pocket and say, “Sorry – here’s your lamb”. One of the funniest moments ever! Clearly he knew that Santa was still watching.
Lifetime Friends Gatherings– For a few years in our 20’s my two best friends, our significant others / friends would travel downtown to celebrate Christmas and our birthdays, as Gretchen and I are both in December. We would go singing/dancing at Howl at the Moon and be blinded by the buckets of “punch” with 20 straws or we’d go see The Mighty Blue Kings at the House of Blues for their Christmas show. For a few years it was our holiday tradition, that was until their lead singer totally embarrassed us one summer at a local festival, but that’s another story. Now we all have our own families and those get-togethers are rare occasions that I wish we could have more often. I’m pretty sure this is a tradition that we need to bring back!
Cousins Christmas– For the past few years, my Mom’s extended family has been getting together to celebrate the holidays. The parties have rotated between a few homes, the dates have shifted over time, but one thing that remains constant is the love we have for each other. Too many memories to share but here are a few key words for my cousins: confetti, box of steaks, dress slip, ass-slapping , ugly sweaters and shots-galore!
Childhood Birthdays -I was blessed to have parents who loved to party in March for St. Patrick’s Day and apparently have babies in December! My brother and I are 3 years and 5 days apart with my birthday on the 20th and my brother’s on the 25th. There has not been a time in my life when we didn’t celebrate our birthdays together, which I really have never minded. Lots of my family members born in December – me, my brother, my mom, my cousins Christy and Joey, my Auntie Julie, my husband and my sister-in-law’s father. We love to celebrate the holiday season with birthday cake sometimes in the shape of a Christmas tree. Just don’t wrap our birthday gifts in Christmas paper, okay?! 🙂
Sharing our Joy – Two years ago we were thrilled to share the news with our immediate families that we were expecting a baby that following summer. It was a little too early to tell everyone, but we felt safe enough to share our good news with our immediate families during the holidays! We had just decided on the 22nd to share our little secret so I went online to get a shirt. Well, we literally had to track and race down the UPS delivery truck driver with the “Our Christmas Miracle” shirt an hour before Christmas eve mass.
While this is kind-of a “Christmas Past” post, my hope is that I am present in all the activities the holiday season has to bring. Being present creates new memories and continues old traditions. Like this year when we were able to celebrate in our niece Meaghan’s engagement surprise to her now fiance Alex. What a wonderful new memory for everyone to share. We were so honored to witness such a joyful event for a lovely, young couple. This is what family and the holiday season is all about!