Our week at my mom's in southern California was, of course, much quieter than our baby-intensive week in Ohio. Indeed, my mom took such good care of us (me, Mickey, Nic and his girlfriend Kat) that we were reminded that we are still very much the kids of her household. She prepared a series of great meals while we basked in a comfortable week without responsibilities playing Wii golf, wrapping presents and binge-watching the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
My brother had the misfortune of being born the week before Christmas (December 19) and thus gets all his presents for the year in the span of one week. And during that week, most people are focused on the birth of Santa (or was it someone else?) not his own. Anyway, I feel for the guy so I always try to make sure I give him distinctly Christmas and birthday presents. Because he enjoyed Wii golf so much when he visited us in Sydney, I figured (pre-scandal) that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 would make a great gift.At first, when Nic started really getting into the game and his character of choice, Scottish golfer Hamish McGregor (who does the worm when he hits birdie), I was sure I was right. He loved the gift. However, when he wanted to play the game on Christmas morning instead of opening presents, we knew he was an addict. I'll have to be more careful about selecting video games next year.My other favorite Nic story from the holiday has to do with his hair. About three hours before our classy family Christmas party at my aunt's house, Nic looked like a mountain man. His beard was out of control and the hair on his head was no better. Because he's such a handsome guy, his lack of grooming was a tragedy. Kat was too sweet to tell him what's what so I offered to pay for a professional cut and shave. We found the perfect black barbershop, masculine enough for my brother's taste, cheap and he was thrilled with the results. So were we. The Christmas party and my brother's new 'do were a huge hit. I caught up with some cousins I hadn't seen since before my wedding two and a half years ago. As always, the food and decorations were fantastic. Perhaps a little too fantastic because my aunt's greedy six year old nephew didn't understand that Christmas parties don't involve party favors and kept begging for an ornament from their tree.
Swept up in the Christmas spirit, my mom and I decided to host a similar though smaller party at her house for Mickey's parents (who had flown in from Cleveland to escape the cold) and aunt and uncle. Because catering for our group involved working around various dietary restrictions (gluten free, sugar and flour free and meat free), we decided to let Costco do some of the cooking. Thankfully, Mickey's family didn't protest. Though a wide cultural gap exists between our two families, they genuinely enjoy each other's company and bond over a shared love of Indian food and us. Seeing everyone laughing and eating together was one of my happiest moments of Christmas 2009. Well, it's between that and the remarkable sales at Banana Republic.