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Entry date: 12-25-2022 - Merry Christmas - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Seems like it often does bring out the best in people. I love the Christmas lights and it always makes me feel good to pull into the driveway at night with the lights on.

As I mentioned yesterday, it is tradition for me to spend Christmas day with my dad and stepmom. We missed a good handful during my mid-teens and early 20s, but it has been the thing to do ever since. From the time Ryan came into my life and now with Rhondi and the kids, we love having our time with Grampa Tom and Gramma Lori.

I have really wonderful memories, as a kid, of Christmas day over at my grandparent’s home. Jack and Val’s house was the meeting point for all my aunts and uncles and cousins. Santa would come and all the kids would get a present from him. It was either my grandpa or my uncles or, sometimes, my dad and it was so awesome. My Uncle Dave made a great Santa and really loved Christmas. I miss him.

When Ryan came along, Uncle Dave always had some cool gift for him on Christmas. I wish Liam and Teresa would have gotten a better chance to know him. I think some of the older kids got to see a bit of him, but probably don’t remember too much. I loved that Uncle Dave got so much joy out of seeing all the kids so happy.

It was a really nice day with the family. We would have a big meal and there was a good number of kids running around. My Aunt Barb’s mom and dad would often come over, too, as they just lived two houses down and other members of their family, too. I liked them. We would say hi to Mrs. Barrett, too, who lived next door and didn’t mind at all when we would go into her yard to fetch a stray ball or frisbee.

We would be there most of the day, if not all day, and just be a family. I missed out on a lot of those days by being an idiot, but I’m very thankful for the memories I do have. Once we got back together, I really loved getting to know my cousins again as adults and it bums me out sometimes that we don’t have big family gatherings anymore.

Nothing but love for everybody. I hope the entire family is having an awesome day today with their extended families. After Gramma died in 2013, we haven’t done a lot of big gatherings. I get it, though. We are all spread out and have families of our own. After Rhondi and I got together and Teresa and Liam came along, we really stopped going anywhere on Christmas. Everyone came to us.

It made sense, I suppose, that we had little people and a lot of people to transport, so it was easier for everyone to come to us. Rhondi loves to host a party, too, so it has worked out pretty well. I’m guessing we might have to switch things up moving forward, though, since we don’t have babies at home anymore. Maybe some more grandkids will come along… Whenever is clever, though. I am in no rush, but I do like being a grandfather.

We really don’t have any set Christmas traditions. We don’t watch a particular Christmas movie and I am pretty non-traditional when it comes to my favorite Christmas movies. If I had to pick a favorite Christmas movie, I would probably go with Metropolitan (Whit Stillman’s 1990 film), which I consider to be a Christmas movie or Diner (which is also set at Christmas time). I do love Scrooged, too. Bill Murray and Karen Allen are always pretty darn entertaining.

A week or two ago, we were talking about Christmas movies with our friend group, and I shared that I liked Jingle All The Way, too. Phil Hartman (RIP) and Arnold Schwarzenegger had a great chemistry, as did Arnold and Sinbad, too. I’m not an Elf or Christmas Story guy, really, although I do find them entertaining, and Christmas Vacation is always good, too.

I did love Henry Winkler’s An American Christmas Carol that came out in the early 80s. For a few years there, it was played a lot at Christmas time, but has been long forgotten. I don’t know why I was so taken with the Fonz as Ebenezer Scrooge, but I did enjoy it. I don’t think it has probably aged well. Most made for TV movies don’t.

So, mainly, we just hang out and talk and if there is a good game on TV, maybe it is on in the background. We do a gift exchange now that most of the kids are older and on their own. That’s a fun and new little tradition. Everybody is usually able to come away with something they are pretty excited about when it is all said and done.

Eat, drink, and be merry is the order of the day today and I’m excited about it. Doug will be over, and we will see all the kids except Hayden, who is in New York. I’m sure there will be facetiming happening. Grampa Tom and Gramma Lori will be over later, too, and we will do our thing.

Later on, I will have to choose between watching the Suns or Cardinals lose. I don’t have any faith in either of the local teams being to pull out their respective games. It’s disappointing, but I really don’t care. I’m guessing I will sleep through most of the games and that’s okay. I’ll be full of meat pie and good beer and that’s a good recipe for a nice nap.

Hopefully the kids will be happy with their gifts. It’s strange not to have a bunch of things for them to open anymore, but they are older and have more expensive tastes. Besides, it really isn’t about that, but I still like to spoil them a bit.

I hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends.

See you tomorrow

I love a good New York movie. Metropolitan is one of those and it's a Christmas movie, too.

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