There are few things greater in the world than witnessing the joy of an almost-six-year-old realizing that Santa brought what she really wanted, even though she forgot to tell him.
I hope your holidays were/are wonderful this year. Mine were filled with joy and family.
I spent 4 days in a quirky condo overlooking beautiful Pismo beach with E and my brother, sister, and niece, plus our cousin who couch-surfed, and daily visits to and from the extended family throughout the region.
It's crazy to belong to such a large extended family. It's like you belong to a posse and you can't do anything solo. You wanna go get a quick dinner of delicious BBQ? Make a few phone calls, and the next thing you know, you and your family will take over the joint. When you take small family subgroups with you to restaurants, you still have to request two separate large tables to seat the entire group. When it's not the holidays, your uncle goes to the local county fair and meets relatives he didn't even know he had. And your aunt cancels the "cousins' only" bbq that had been planned because due to the required politesse, the bbq would have to be 200 local invitees of first, second, and third-degree family. Instead, we have a small get-together of 15.
All in all, I could not have asked for anything better: perfectly clear and weather in the 60s (F); two days of running alongside the Pacific Ocean; one day of beach yoga; four nights of listening to waves crashing from either the hottub or the balcony; and, of course, more delicious food and family laughter than I even thought was possible.
It was one of the best Christmas holidays I can remember.