This was my second Christmas in a row away from home and my parents. They're not big on Christmas, and usually prefer that I be with them for Thanksgiving, which is our favorite holiday. However, I adore Christmas and have a hard time being away from anyone I love (let alone the two people I love the most) during that time. Luckily, I've had the pleasure of spending the past two Christmases with some very, very wonderful people who make me feel so loved and happy that it takes the sting away from being without my immediate family. This year I broke out my down coat and headed east to visit my extended family in Wisconsin.
I hear that sometimes holidays bring out the crazy - and I understand how that could happen - but this year it brought out the best in us all. I couldn't begin to count the number of hugs, kisses and compliments that were given. Warmth radiated from every smile, twinkly light, and beautifully wrapped present. I did find myself curled up on a bed with White Sandy Beach playing on my phone and a few tears forming as I thought of the warm Hawaii breeze that has always meant Christmastime to me, but those tears only made me feel luckier. For a number of reasons this holiday season has been one of the most joyful times of my life. I feel completely overwhelmed by work, my own interests and passions, and the possibilities that the future holds, but at the same time I feel deeply contented, grateful, and proud. Some of my favorite parts of life are the moments when really fantastic things (little or big) happen completely out of the blue, and this month has been full of them. I am ready to find out what 2012 has in store!
Here are a few snapshots from my trip to Wisconsin. My aunt makes a croquembouche every year on Christmas Eve and I had a lot of fun helping (well, taking photos, lending a hand whenever possible, and dodging strands of 200 degree sugar). In the evening we headed to my other aunt's house for dinner where I got to hang with some of my super duper talented and charming cousins!