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As a child, up until about the time I met Jeff, I journaled regularly. Since meeting my husband, however, I’ve stopped. Maybe it’s because I’ve been happy, and as anyone who’s ever written creatively can tell you, it’s much easier to write regularly when you’re a miserable wretch.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve simply grown out of the habit, which is much worse than, “Oh, I’m just too happy.”

This is bad for all sorts of reasons, perhaps most of all that I have the memory of a goldfish, and journaling allows me to go back in time and read and remember times in my life that I likely would have otherwise forgotten. (A great example: Upon a recent reading of the journals, I was reminded that for my 16th birthday, my bff Stephanie arranged a small parade down my street into the cul-de-sac where my house was located. As my friends marched, they sang me happy birthday in party hats, and they brought me cupcakes. That amazing memory would have been lost forever without  my journal.)

The past month or two has been particularly incredible for me, and I didn’t journal but once or twice during that time, and that’s just too bad. I think this might be the only written recollection of it. So allow me, if you will, to recap some of my favorite Christmas 2013 memories:

  • For our first married Christmas, Jeff and I opened gifts Dec. 23 because we left the 24th for my parents’. I set up a small card table in the room with our fireplace and had dinner on it when Jeff got home. He lit the fire, and we ate dinner, drank wine and we generally schmoopsy and sentimental. We sprawled out and opened gifts there in the little room with the crackling fire and the skinny tree from my single-girl days. (We have a larger tree in our family room, but as my studio is off the fireplace room, I wanted a tree nearby. Despite how it sounds, our house isn’t huge — it’s just a ranch that’s very spread out.)
  • Jeff took the Christmas gift hint I gave him. I love that he is happy buying for me on his own, but I spied a handmade Italian leather purse on Etsy that made me drool. As Jac & Elsie had an absolutely incredible holiday (more on that in a later post), I decided I wanted to treat myself to the purse, even though it was more than double what I’d ever spent on a bag before. I emailed the link to Jeff and told him I’d be happy to get it myself, but if he needed an idea, voila. He responded that I’d been good this year (HA!) and Santa might bring it. I had no idea if he’d remember, and I was thrilled to find he did. The purse can be worn two ways — slouched or not — and comes with two straps, a cross-body and a shoulder bag. And it smells oh-so-very-good.

    The UK-based shop is called de Lacy, and it is INCREDIBLE. I highly recommend the shop for high-quality craftsmanship, creative designs and ridiculously soft leather and suede. Click on the pic to visit.

  • Every Christmas eve, my family spends it at my aunt and uncle’s. I heard some family member or another share that this was Aunt Annie and Uncle Billy’s 37th (47th? 137?) Christmas Eve celebration. It’s loud, it’s Italian, it can be overwhelming but it’s always, always a good time.

    One of my first Christmas eves at Aunt Annie and Uncle Billy’s. I used to be terrified of Santa. When he came at me on this instance, I ran to my uncle Lenny. It wasn’t until high school that I learned that poor, poor Santa was my dad.

    Family photo!

    Family photo from Christmas eve 2013

First married Christmas! Awwww.

  • This year, I turned 30 and got married, but I still sat at the kids’ table on Christmas day. Our kitchen table isn’t big enough for everyone at family get-togethers, so my parents put a small card table next to it, around which the cousins tend to gather. Dec. 25, I sat there with my brother and two of my cousins, Alexxa and Mike, and I started to move over for Jeff, but he was like, “Oh, I’m fine up here,” and he opted to sit at the grown-up table. My family all got a good laugh out of that, but I don’t think I’d feel right eating Christmas dinner at the main kitchen table. Besides, someone needs to sit there and help guard the cousins’ Cokes against Joey the thief. My brother has a love-affair with Coke (no joke, he will drink until he pukes, and has on multiple occasions), and he knows which of us in my family drinks the good stuff (not Pepsi, not diet, just straight Coca-Cola Classic). He always sits by them at meals and stares until they’re not paying attention, and then he steals their drink. Alexxa and I know to watch our Cokes. Mike hadn’t been a victim yet — until this year. 
  • My aunt Carmen and uncle Gary bought one of the most meaningful gifts Jeff and I received this year: An “our first Christmas” ornament. I know every Christmas, when we put up the tree, we will smile when we hang it from the faux evergreen branches.
  • Our holiday with Jeff’s family was small and lovely (his family is considerably quieter than mine). We arrived early Saturday afternoon and vegged all day. His grandfather, a few Christmases back, got into the habit of buying a copious amount of $1 lottery tickets, and we split them up among everyone and take turns scratching them off. It usually takes an hour or longer, but it’s a nice time for everyone to sit in one place and laugh over our “big money” winnings. (In three years, Grandpa hasn’t even come close to making his money back.)

I hope everyone had an incredible holiday, for those who celebrate such things, and created some memories that you can look back on in two, five, 20 years with happiness.

And take it from the gal with the terrible memory — WRITE THAT SHIT DOWN.