Today is one of my favorite days of the year. See, both Fiance and my families celebrate on Christmas Eve. Every year since I was a little girl, my family has made red chile and tamales and this amazing cheese sauce that I could straight up eat with a spoon, then we celebrate with family and friends at a little Christmas Eve party. We eat cookies and this tequila cider thing, and then later on, we would go to Midnight Mass before coming home and opening just one present for the night.
It was always incredibly wonderful. Something about the darkness outside, sometimes with snow, a fire in the fireplace and all of the twinkly Christmas lights all over the house made it feel like a fairy land, like a magical place. Plus, I got to eat my favorite things (as a little girl I LOVED the masa inside the tamales, because the meat was too hot, and I've always loved that cheese sauce for chips and vegetables). AND we always had fresh biscochitos. Have you ever had biscochitos? They're amazing. My best friend Valerie and her mom always make a big batch and they are SO good. They taste like cinnamon and shortbread and sugar and a little like anise, and they are perfectly little crumbly bites.
Fiance's family does something similar. His mom comes from a family of four sisters, all here in town, and they are VERY close. Plus, his grandparents (especially his grandfather) were like parents to him since they lived with them for so long when he was growing up. He is very close to his family, so all of the clan (the grandparents, the four sisters, their kids, and now THEIR kids) gather at the grandparents' house and eat and play games and then open presents in the big open common room next to a giant tree. Every family separates into a corner and it's just an hour of wonderful chaos, with everyone talking and laughing and opening presents and saying thank you to each other. Then we all take family pictures in front of the tree.
It has been hard, for the past three years, to see each other equally on that night. Christmas Eve is only a few hours long, really, and we have two families we want to see. A friend of mine says that they separate Thanksgiving and Christmas, seeing one family for one and one for the other, but neither Fiance or I can bear not to see our families on Christmas Eve. So splitting has become its own tradition for us, and while it can be hard to leave one family, it is always wonderful to walk into the other family's house and see everyone light up to see us. I just love Christmas Eve.
This year will be tough. Again, Fiance works for a shipping company and they are CRAZY busy. As I type this, he has already finished one six hour shift and is now heading to another five-six hour shift delivering packages. But until last night, he was supposed to work Christmas Eve night until like nine, so I'm incredibly grateful that he's off tonight and we get to spend the whole evening with our families and, more importantly, with each other and with our little Shadow. :o)
I better go. I still have some timesheet work to do from home (bah humbug) and one more present to buy, plus a little more wrapping and then lots of cooking with my mom. But to you and yours, from the bottom of my heart, MERRY CHRISTMAS. My gift to you will be writing more next year, I promise ;o)