1. Cheering on my Cardinals to a share of the Big East Football Championship the day after Thanksgiving as I decorated the house for Christmas.
2. Shopping with my mom on Monday nights (beginning with Halloween, mind you). It seemed at almost every store I'd see something I loved and she'd say, "Put it in the cart". She spoils me silly every year!
3. My students surrounding my desk, anxiously awaiting to see what present I would open from them next (speaking of getting spoiled).
4. Seeing Andy open his "Get Your Jingle On" underwear was amazing and sitting next to my grandma as she opened her "Bah Humbug" underwear was priceless!
5. Listening to my Aunt Gretchen laugh as she watched "Christmas Vacation" for the first time.
6. "Oohing" and "Ahhing" over the light displays at Kalightoscope with Erin and Jenny.
7. Watching "Claymation Christmas" with Deanna for the 10th year in a row.
8. Sitting at the Irish Rover for lunch with Ruthie, Jen, and Mom, laughing about my horrible dating record.
9. Christmas Eve Mass: my sister and I were sitting there innocently people-watching when all of the sudden an old woman stood up and shouted "The choir is singing-please be quiet!" Well of course that just created more noise as people turned to one another to say, "Did that just happen?" Mind you the choir was practicing; they had not yet started the prelude. But obviously no one told the woman that, and so then she made us all feel welcome and in the Christmas spirit by shouting, "Shut up!" Jill and I looked at each other in shock. And then we did what we do best, and started laughing. Classic!
10. Sitting around my parents' living room retelling my aunts about the crazy lady at church, and then breaking into song. We all clapped along as Joey sang "Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child".
11. Hearing Dad, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Terry tell stories from their childhood.
12. Watching Pete stick his whole head inside his gift bag to retrieve his rawhide candy canes from me.
13. Seeing Micah's face as he opened a gag gift from Jill: a porcelain cloud holding a stack of post-it notes that say "Lord Help Me" with an angel paper weight. He wasn't sure what to make of it and I could not keep a straight face.
14. Losing my breath and crying from laughing so hard when my dad fell off the bench he was sitting on. One second he was bending over to put his present on the ground and the next, he was falling forward in a leap-frog fashion. It took me several minutes to recover.
15. Falling asleep with Pete at my feet on the couch Christmas Day...the whole family stayed in our PJs all day and it was glorious!
I said it on Facebook and I'll say it again: the best gift that my family gives me every Christmas is the gift of laughter. Even though Christmas is over, the memories we made will be the gifts that keep on giving!
I hope that you made some wonderful holiday memories with your family and friends too!