As planned, I got to spend the holidays at home. All the way from Thanksgiving through New Years. It was amazing! I have been only coming home for holiday cameos for seven years, since I left for college at 17. Between all the holiday excitement I got to find a little order and sanity in me life. I sorted through the disaster that I left in my parent’s upstairs; a gradual build up from each time I blew through New Jersey. It had become worse than ever as clear layers of my New Jersey, Boston, and San Francisco lives could be seen in the piles.
I got in from Rome on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My mom hosted the Hanrahan Thanksgiving as she does most years. We had 45 people over. She made everything you could imagine. After the huge antipasto we had her bread, corn (she froze the neighboring farmer’s corn in the summer), mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, my Uncle Larry’s salad and baked brie, stuffed shells, meat balls, and of course a 26 pound turkey. There was also sangria and warm apple cider and homemade Irish Cream to add to all the beer, wine, and soda. Then for dessert the dinning room was filled with every kind of pie as well as cup cakes, cookies, a cannoli cake, and brownies.
We spent Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. Besides catching up with all of them, I found out my cousin Corrine is getting remarried in May and she asked me to be in her wedding party again. I also got to meet Lori’s (Corrine’s older sister) and Tim’s second daughter: Brooke. She is cute as a button and has this adorable thing where her hair sticks straight up no matter what my cousin does. Lori had her two girls, Kayla and Brooke, and well as Corrine’s Celina in matching Christmas dresses.
Early Christmas morning was just my parent’s, grandmother (she comes home with us from Christmas Eve and stays over), and me. Santa brought me some goodies for my new vagabond lifestyle. The highlights were a Kindle and a waterproof point-and-shoot camera. Soon after my Aunt Linda and Uncle Larry come over. This year my Aunt’s friend Jane came too. We have a big breakfast and exchange stocking stuffers.
This year, since the big breakfast was at our house, my mom stayed with her family and my dad and I headed to the Hanrahan Christmas at my Aunt Debbie and Uncle John’s. It was an eventful Christmas this year at the Hanrahans. My Uncle John was home from Japan (he and Aunt Debbie moved there recently for his work). Aunt Debbie was home too of course, but had been since Thanksgiving, like me. My cousin Brian, who goes to BU, just came back from a semester abroad in Ecuador with all kinds of stories. My cousin David (the only one besides me and potentially Brian to leave NJ or one of the neighboring states) was home from San Diego for the first Christmas in 10 years. We had a 6-day-old baby– Mike and Bonnie’s little Keira. Marc proposed to Vivian that morning. My uncle Bill was in from Alaska. It was a really magical Christmas.
I was going to spend New Years with my cousin’s on my mom’s side. They have a party every year. But last minute everyone was sick and they almost canceled. I ended up at my cousin Marc’s where I had a wonderful time. In the morning I was painfully reminded that I have not been drinking like I did in SF.
Between the big holidays I got to see some old friends. Caught up with NJ people and made a trip to Boston. Like I said, I has been just like I hoped.