Still smiling from a great Christmas

For the first time in at least five years I am working this week, the one between Christmas and New Years. The big Thanksgiving trip took up every last bit of vacation time I had left so I had no choice but to put on my big girl pants and head to the office this week.

In the newspaper business, this week is usually spent writing fluffy, feel-good stories of the Christmas miracle type, or the old stand-by weather story or anything else that will fill the “news hole.”

In the weekly, niche publication world, most of our stories are written ahead of time so the week is spent leaving messages for people you know won’t call back until next week, cleaning your desk, taking long coffee and lunch breaks, and catching up with Facebook friends. Why did I ever waste my vacation days to have this time off?!

This year is especially nice, because Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Years Eve/New Years Day (all official work holidays) fall on Saturday and Sunday, we also got/get Friday and Monday off so the work week between the two is actually only three days.

The long Christmas weekend started on Friday. I spent most of that day catching up on my Christmas baking (my new oven arrived Thursday — yes!), making a variety of truffles to be given away as gifts. I had a lot of other baking to do, but the truffles were a lot more time consuming than first thought and before I knew it, nothing besides the truffles got crossed off my to-do list. But I had a date to get to downtown, so everything else had to wait so I could catch a train into the city.

Brian booked a room at the Westin on the river and had checked in earlier in the day so he could hook up with old work buddies of his. When I arrived, I discovered he didn’t just book a room, he booked a beautiful suite. I, unfortunately, did not get pictures of the room itself, but the view was pretty awesome, as well.

View of the Chicago River from the 19th floor of the Westin of the River

We had a great dinner at the newish Cantina Laredo, and then met up with some friends who were here from Minneapolis. It was a fun way to kick off the holiday weekend.

Christmas Eve morning, we checked out of the hotel then headed back to the south side where we had breakfast at one of our favorite breakfast joints, Chucks BBQ. Then headed home to finish up the last of the baking and wrap the last few presents.

That evening we went north to Brian’s dad and step-mom’s house where we were treated to the most delicious Christmas feast of not just ham, but ham AND turkey and lots of fixings and sweets and wine…ect We stuffed ourselves, opened gifts, laughed and talked. Before we knew it, it was getting late and was time to head home. We got there just in time to watch midnight mass at Holy Name Cathedral on TV, something I do most every Christmas Eve. While watching mass I admired my Christmas tree, feeling blessed to have so many presents under it, ready to give to family and friends, and each other.

Christmas morning went by way too fast. Brian and I had a preview of the cinnamon rolls I was taking to my parents later and drank coffee as we took turns opening gifts. I have to say, I must have been very, very good this year because Santa (aka Brian) spoiled me rotten to an embarrassing level. I’m still speechless.

After our own Christmas morning, we headed to my family’s celebration in Indiana which took place in two parts: my parents’ house for brunch with them and my grandma, brother and nieces, then to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner. It was great to see my family and we had a very nice, but long, day. When we got home at about 7 p.m., I put on a pair of my new flannel pajamas and curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and called out-of-town family to wish them all a Merry Christmas.

Monday, we spent the day relaxing, putting together Christmas presents that needed assembling and finding a place for them. Then I worked on getting myself psyched up to go back to work.

The week’s gone by pretty quickly, as a three-day week should. šŸ™‚ Now I’m ready to bring on the next four-day holiday weekend!

Hope everyone felt as blessed as I did this Christmas.


About travelerontherun

I am a chronic adventurer who loves to see and experience new places. What I really love most is experiencing those places after parking my RV and lacing up my running shoes.
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