I thought this Christmas was going to be really weird because this was the first year my family has celebrated Christmas in a new home. My parents moved out of my childhood home this fall, and the sentimental heart in me was a little nervous that the change of scenery would be too uncomfortable at a time when traditions feel like the most important thing. But it was wonderful. The house was filled with the laughter of family that you don’t see often enough, the aromas of delicious meals, and the sketching out of new memories.
This morning, I was flipping through the pictures I took over the weekend of what seemed like endless Christmas festivities. When I got to this one (which I just snapped with my phone), I stopped. Because this picture, oddly, captures exactly what made this Christmas one of the best ever:
Sorry to people who are grossed out by meat.
That’s chicken to go in paella for 17 people, which is roughly the number of people who were staying in my parents’ house this weekend. So much family! Now, my family can be crazy––dinner often degenerates into a dance party, usually to David Bowie. We are boisterous Argentines and stubborn Dutch. We are also blessed with a lot of people gifted in hospitality. So the food is incredibly prepared, the tables elaborately adorned. Dinner is loud and long and full of laughter.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than having my whole family (faux-family included!) spread around a giant table with great food, good music, and conversation that ranges from the apparent pecan shortage (who knew?) to everyone’s top 5 Led Zeppelin songs. It was an opportunity to put aside everything else––work commitments, deadlines, cell phones, email, lists of things that still need to be moved from the old house, lists of presents that still need to be bought, sadness and sickness and stress––and just be in the company of family, which, no matter how crazy, is irreplaceable.
What a wonderful weekend––it was perfect in every way.
As a runner-up for favorite picture:
Gratuitous Chicago love. I couldn’t resist.
Question: Is there an image (an actual picture or just an image in your mind) that sums up your Christmas?