Ahhhh, Christmas. I love it. Celebrating the birth of Jesus, singing worship songs in church to candlelight, being with my family—it’s such a wonderful time—hard to really express in words. I also love all the neat secular things that surround the holiday—decorations, snow, giving gifts, fires, wrapping, candles, cards, etc.

So let me share the highlights of the Crowe family Christmas. I hope yours was just as joyous.

Thursday, December 24

8:30 a.m.

Got up early and began preparations for dinner that night.

10 a.m.

Assisted my dad as he fixed an outlet and my jet tub. (I can’t tell you how happy I am that the tub works now. Did I mention it was the primary reason I bought my house?)

1:30 p.m.

More preparations for dinner.

2:15 p.m.

Went to church and met my brother and his family. I got a little choked up during the service, which I have done every year for the past several years. You see, my dear friend Jeff passed away from a battle with cancer on a Christmas Eve a few years ago and it’s hard not to think about him on this day. He was a beautiful person and I miss him a lot. But he would want us to celebrate and be joyful—and I am thankful for the time we had with him.

4:30 p.m.

We arrive back at my house and I begin delegating tasks. It never fails that in the mad rush to get dinner cooked and ready, the kids need me to set up the Wii, put in a movie, or show them something or answer some question about my house.

5:30 p.m.

Family sits down for a dinner of meat and cheese fondue. I get up a dozen times and am always the last one to finish eating. It’s okay though, I love to host this special night.

6:30 p.m.

I hang out downstairs and have some bonding time with my nephews while we watch Star Wars. My nephew, Harmon, who as a little tyke was famous for talking loudly in movie theaters says all natural like, “Ya know what I don’t like? I don’t like when people talk during the movie.” Really Harmon? That’s new. I send Tyler up for cookies and we snuggle in while Harmon explains the significance of each scene.

8:30 p.m.

As I settle down with my parents, and Greg and his family head back to MD, I notice that the present I have for Harmon that was under my tree was suspiciously moved to a central location.

Friday, December 25

9 a.m.

I come downstairs and notice an empty bottle of vegetable oil on the carpet. Last night it was full of oil that was used in the meat fondue pot. I call the doctor and ask if Grendel will die or not and am relieved to hear that my only worries are of the gross stuff that comes out both ends. I am thankful it will not be another Advil overdose situation. That is a story for another day.

11 a.m.

Arrive at Greg’s house. I make the traditional Christmas morning monkey bread and then meet Zenia’s new puppy, Scooby. What a cutie pie—until he started chewing my hair and then I had flashbacks of Grendel’s youth.

11:30 a.m.

Kids start tearing through the presents. I have to admit, I love seeing them smile when they open something they like. Their faces light up with such joy. Harmon admitted he saw his present at my house and after opening it exclaimed, “This is my favorite present of all time. I’ve wanted this my whole life.” It was a Legos Star Wars Wii game. He didn’t let it out of his clutches for several hours.

12 noon–7 p.m.

Played with the kids and Scooby, ate lots of cookies and yummy food, boxed with the kids, watched them wrestle, and played Wii. Zenia messed with my iPod by putting country and rap stations on my favorite lists, recording weird messages and videos, and laughing at my lack of knowledge about how to program it. After I rested a bit and came down from my sugar cookie high, I went home. Grendel survived with no problems.

A day with my family at Christmas is precious indeed. I’m going to keep my tree up for awhile just so the mood lingers a bit longer. Happy Holidays.

Round one of the Crowe boxing tournament

The best present ever.

Reading the letter to Santa. “Here’s some milk at no cost.”