See that little South Park-lookin' dude over there? That's me! Don't know if you saw this at Dawn's, but you can create your own South Park character here. I gotta say, dude does kinda look like me. I'm particularly proud of the crazy-bushy eyebrows because, if you've seen the real me, you know I have crazy-bushy eyebrows. The only thing that's off about it is he doesn't have a nose, and boy howdy, do I have a nose. Big ol' schnozzola.
I picked up our Christmas tree last night (yes, it's a Christmas tree, you Pagan Pansies!) while Julie and the kids were out dancing -- okay, Julie and Sam weren't dancing, but Emma and Maddie were. It's a very lovely tree, nice and bushy like my eyebrows. As we discovered last Christmas -- our first in this house -- however, our ceilings are only 8' high. Our previous home had 9' ceilings, and my house before that had 10' ceilings. So we've progressively had to get shorter and shorter trees. With 8' ceilings, after you're done cutting the bottom to fit in the stand and leaving enough room at the top for your treetop ornament (for an example of not doing this, look here), your tree itself is only about 6-1/2 to 7' tall. Not the big nine footer I used to get. But you know, once I got the lights on, it started to look pretty darn festive. We'll decorate tonight.
My Thursday Thirteen last week was all about things that bug me about Christmas. The reality is, however, I love Christmas and actually had to make up a few of them just to get 13. I've always loved Christmas, and there's one good reason for it:
My mom always made the holidays the most warm, loving, fun and close family time you could imagine. It was never about gifts, though the gifts were always there. It was always about being together as a family. Like Jen said in the comments to my last Thursday Thirteen post, Christmas was magical whether I was a young boy believing in Santa Clause, a young man wishing my voice would stop cracking, a college boy home for the holidays, or an adult man with kids of my own. PJ was just out here last weekend visiting, and we had a wonderful time. But we're not going to make it back to Michigan for the holidays this year -- the third year in a row we've missed -- and it really bums me out. We're separated by 1,200 miles, and flying a family of five anywhere, anytime takes a big chunk of change. Flying them to Michigan over Christmas is more still. I wish we could all be together -- my sisters, my sister's kids, my family, my Grandpa, my Mom -- to wake up to Mom's bubble bread (it's only the best thing ever, and if you have her cookbook, the recipe's in there, and if you don't have her cookbook, you better go here and buy one) and drink coffee and pick on each other.
But... there's one thing I know for sure, and that is that the distance and the absence of our being physically together has done nothing to the spirit of what Christmas has always been about for us. My beautiful family of five will celebrate together Christmas morning and watch seven-month-old Samuel trying to eat his presents for his first Christmas. And I'll talk to my mom and my sisters and my niece and nephew and Grandpa and we'll all be together, in our hearts.
For me, that's Christmas.
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