This Christmas was a holiday of firsts. I introduced Josh to my Dad, Steph, Aunt Honey and Aunt Kathy for the first time. It was the first year I've ever had a boyfriend join me for the holidays. It was also the first time I've ever traveled to my boyfriend's parents' house for the holidays. This holiday was so special because it felt like the first one in a long time that everything clicked. I was happy to have Josh with me at home and I was touched that his family has welcomed me with such open arms. As I grow up (still in progress), I realize more and more that the people in my life are the presents, not the pretty boxes under the tree.
I really started getting into the Christmas spirit when Josh surprised me with our first Christmas tree. We'd decided that it'd be a pain to buy and decorate a tree this year. But he knew that I liked the smell and tradition so he spent part of his vacation haggling for a good price, picking out ornaments and wrapping lights and garland around our adorable tree. The shining star of the tree was the MDNA tour VIP pass that he turned into an ornament. It was perfect!
As Christmas drew closer, we decided to spend December 23rd and 24th at my parents' house and then go to his parents' house for the 25th and 26th. It worked out really well, but it was exhausting. I have 25 years worth of memories and people that I want to share with Josh. It's a lot pack into a two day trip. But we made the most of it.
We used Josh's mom's Ford Edge to drive from Rock Tavern to Pennsylvania. Our first stop was Aunt Honey's house in Prospect Park. She is one of my favorite relatives. She calls it like she sees it, doesn't censor herself and makes my sides hurt from all the laughs.
Next we drove to Dover Downs to meet my Dad and Steph for dinner and some Christmas gambling. I'm not sure how slot machines have become part of the Godby Christmas tradition, but I like it. I think dinner went really well. I know that both sides were probably nervous and didn't know what to say, but I had a good time. My dad gave me $50 to gamble with for Christmas. I put in a penny slot, lost 50 cents, and then gained it back. That's it. Cash out. I'm done. I'm proud of my ability to walk away. Josh wasn't so lucky. He put in a $100 bill, got up to $105 and then went down to about $70. Oh well. It was such a good time. Naturally, my dad ending up winning money. I don't know how he always wins. We only gambled for a little bit before we both needed to started heading home. I think everyone made a great impression.
The big challenge would be making it through a Godby/Daemer Christmas. LOL. When we finally got to Mom and Sam's, we were greeted by 5 people and 5 dogs. I knew Bogie (crazy) and Grace (super sweet) would be with Michele and Kasey. Naturally, I know Abby (newest addition to the family) and Marty (scrappy, but cute) would be there. Morgan was a surprise. My mom was dog sitting for a friend. All the canine companions made for some funny memories.
Josh got to experience Michele's organizational skills first hand. We had the traditional gingerbread house construction. I took the lead on decorating after a few glasses of wine and I think it was our best house yet. We also made and decorated a Rice Krispie's Choo-Choo Train. It was a lot of fun and the first time that a craft of mine didn't seem like it was done by an 8-year-old. Josh also got to help decorate our tree. It was fun to show him my ornaments from years past - Power Rangers, Floppy Disk, Zac Efron. Decorating the tree this year was much more fun that I remember because I had someone special to share it with. I don't know how I keep end up putting the angel on the top of the tree, but I managed to do so flawlessly. Well. Maybe there was a minor slip that almost sent me falling into the tree. Eh. All's well that end's well.
My family always opens presents on Christmas Eve, but this year we did something different. No one really needs anything, so we decided to not do presents and use the money to plan a family vacation to Utah for the summer. I think it's a great idea. I've always wanted to go see the Grand Canyon, go hiking, etc so I'm really looking forward to it. Naturally the dogs all got presents. Marty was an expert as unwrapping presents, which was hilarious. And Abby stockpiled all the toys in her crate after the other dogs tired of playing with them. We were also lucky enough to have some snow on Christmas Eve. It was so beautiful to see the falling snow with the woods in the background. No street lights, so noise. Peace.
Michele and Kasey left early on Christmas Day to head to Ohio and we left about an hour after they did. Josh got so excited when we stopped at Wawa for breakfast. I always thought it was just a fancy gas station, but they do have really good food. It was about three and a half hours to Josh's parents' house in Rock Tavern, New York. His mom and dad are so sweet. I love when his mom calls us her boys. His dad is a lot like Sam - quiet, but really caring. He always gives me a handshake and a big hug. Their tree was gorgeous and it was so much fun opening presents with Josh's nieces, Bella and Sophia. Bella is such an adorable kid. She's so sassy! I love it. Sophia is just starting to walk, but her smile is infectious. Josh's parents got me so many presents. His mom asked for a list so I thought about what I really wanted - gym clothes. It's the one thing I can't have enough of. She went all! They also got me two prints from the country store we had visited in the fall. I can't wait to hang them up. It'll bring a little bit of the country to my NYC apartment. The best part was Big Larry's prime rib. It was unbelievable. It was the first time that I can really remember loving a first bite so much. Erin and Larry got an Xbox 360 so we all had a blast trying to use the Kinect to smash boxes, sail through rivers and fly.
Erin is a riot!
This Christmas was amazing! I got to spend the season with the people that I love the most. Sitting around the kitchen table playing cards, playing an iPad game with Josh's niece, losing a game of tug-of-war with the dogs. Those are what the holidays are all about. Family. And I'm so lucky to have such loving one.
And while gifts are just materials things, Tresa did get me a 64 GB iPhone 5 and Pam got me a Paul Smith dopp kit. Me likey!