It has arrived! My favorite day of the year! Christmas Eve. Everyone knows how important family is to me and tonight, 25 or so of us will be together at Grammy’s house celebrating. We will eat our traditional Italian Fish dinner but only after we devour the mounds of Italian cold cuts and appetizers from Mia Familigia, our favorite Italian deli. Prosciutto, capicola, mortadella, spicy and sweet dried Italian sausages, olives, fresh chunks of sharp Parmesan cheese, mozzarella balls and Gram’s famous roasted red peppers. Blue cheese stuffed olives, garlic bread, shrimp cocktail, black wrinkly Greek olives, Clams Oreganata, Pearl Onions, Shrimp Ceviche, Calamari Salad…the food never seems to run out! We can’t forget the pickled herring in honor of the Jewish side of the family!
Then comes the fish dinner. Lobster Sauce, Clam Sauce, lobster tails and mussels marinara all served with pasta of course!
After dinner, there is a quick clean up in anticipation of Santa’s arrival! Once he gets there, the presents are handed out one by one to every guest. Santa visits for about a half an hour. Our grab bag, which includes all of the adults begins. The kids are opening gifts continuously. We have an unwritten rule, that everyone has to see what each person unwraps. It makes it so much more fun that way and we can see the thought that was put into each present. We usually have a theme with our grab bags and we try to change it each year to “spice things up.” One year, you chose the name of a person and had to buy them a gift that had the same initials as their name, so Claire Sinclair could receive a Cashmere Sweater.
Another year, we picked a name and a magazine title and had to buy a gift that went along with the magazine….so my girly-girl cousin Jody was chosen along with the magazine, Popular Mechanics. My other cousin Lisa, who had chosen her, bought her a tool belt and filled it with make up and beauty supplies. Our family gets pretty creative – another reason I love this day so much.
This year, we tried to keep it simple for everyone and get them something they needed. Everyone created an Amazon Wish List and we just bought something off their lists. A more practical year. Maybe next year we will get creative again.
The festivities begin with us going to Mass, a quick drive over to Gram’s…then dinner will begin!