I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas - I know I did! I was able to spend time with lots of family and celebrate with our yearly traditions of special foods, music and fun. I have four cousins on my mom's side of the family and all of us (along with my sister) have a Secret Santa gift exchange - we pick names at Thanksgiving and set a $25 limit - this year I had my cousin Emma, who is a sophomore in high school. My cousin Tom, who is a senior in high school, had me. It is so much more fun to do a special gift exchange like this, it was clear that everyone had put a lot of thought to what their cousin would want! Being that I am the oldest of all of the cousins and the next oldest is my sister, I have really enjoyed watching my younger cousins mature throughout the years. My cousin Tom will be headed off to college next year, which is hard to believe! Even though we have had many of the same holiday traditions since we were much younger, Christmas is a definite time that I see my family getting older - there isn't any voracious unwrapping of gifts, but instead a general sense of enjoyment of being together!
My dad's family is much smaller, but much more eccentric. Each year my grandmother gives us all a challenge to complete before the next year; this year we had to make something to wear out of duct tape! I made a purse, and I used my hot glue gunning skills to bedazzle it with some beads that I found in our basement...no winner was chosen, but we all had fun creating our pieces! We also have a Yankee Swap gift exchange, which is always cut throat - but lots of fun. This year our challenge is to be conscious about using our "talents" to better the world around us. It's a little less light hearted than the duct tape challenge, but it will be a great year-long challenge!
My mom, sister and I are headed down to New Hampshire tomorrow to meet up with my mom's best friend Linda and her daughter Brittany and then we will all head to NYC. I am SO excited for our trip - I'll update you when we get back, plus I'll write my second annual year recap in honor of New Year's.
Holiday wishes to you and your family!