Home for the Holidays

I hope that you all enjoyed your holidays! The time off was much-needed for me, especially since I got sick the week before Christmas. Luckily, I was feeling better in time to celebrate with family, and I got to enjoy some relaxation, too. There were a few days where I didn’t even open my computer! I think my time in college really conditioned me to think that busier was better – it was always an (unhealthy!) competition of who was doing more. Now I’m much better about appreciating the need to take time off to actually work harder and better afterwards.

So this time off, for me, was the perfect combination of relaxing plus spending time with friends and family. I definitely watched my share of Netflix, and I got to really throw myself into reading (so look out for an updated post on what I’ve been reading next week!). I also finally got to see the Mr. Rogers movie – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Pittsburgh has had more movies filmed here recently, so it’s not that uncommon to see the city on the big screen, but rarely is the movie actually set in Pittsburgh. And Mr. Rogers is such a hometown hero and source of pride for Pittsburghers – it was really excited to see his story being shared. Especially because its a story of warmth and care and just being genuine – that’s such an important story to be told. When we got home, we even found the picture of me and my sister with Mr. McFeely, when we were in Pittsburgh’s Christmas parade years and years ago.

My family spent Christmas Day slightly differently this year. Usually, we go to mass on Christmas Eve (which we still did this year), and then spend Christmas Day brunch at our house with some of the family on my Dad’s side. As my cousins and I have gotten older, though, and “the kids” started having kids, it’s become more difficult to coordinate schedules. So this year, it was just me, my sister, my mom, and my dad for most of the day, and we celebrated in our pajamas. It was different, but if there was a year for a chill Christmas, I felt like this was the year.

And don’t worry – we still definitely celebrated Christmas with friends and family! Each year, the day after Christmas, my dad’s side of the family all gathers at my aunt and uncle’s house – we’ve done it for as long as I can remember! It’s where we play the (often crazy) white elephant/grab bag game. I say often crazy because we have a rule of a maximum of 3 gift “steals” per person until the gift permanently becomes yours, and sometimes when it starts to come close to the limit, people will try to hide a gift that they really want. Oh, and one year there was a live lobster. We got together with my mom’s side of the family last night – it’s a much smaller gathering, but no less fun!

I think my favorite part of the holidays, though, is my family’s after-Christmas Christmas party. This is also something that we’ve had for as long as I can remember, though it’s morphed a bit over the years! It started out as my parents friends and family as the guest list for the party, and now, it’s my parent’s list, plus mine, plus my sister’s… so it’s grown. Sometimes it’s the one time each year that my friends and I are together as a group, and it’s always such a blast. And now that my friends are having kids, there’s a new generation at the party, too. The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same, right?

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