Christmas morning. Actually, the last hours of Christmas eve and the beginning of Christmas Day.

Christmas eve does not end with dinner and the dishes being done. The dishes an extortion in themselves.

Everyone gone. The kids sleeping. Time to get out Santa’s gifts and lay them around the tree, fill the stockings, and make sure the cookies and milk left for Santa were devoured. My job!

My wife always went to Midnight Mass. I not. So she got ready and was off. Not to return till about 2.

My job to put together the toys that required such.

I recall a Christmas in the 1960s. Santa had brought my son his first two-wheel bicycle. In a box. I had to put it together. This was before the days that stores provided the service for $5 or $10.

I began before my wife left for Mass. I was still working on it when she returned. We worked together till 3.

A pain! Hundreds of screws and bolts. Instructions required a Ph.D. If a screw or bolt were missing, you were dead!

Finally, the bike was together. Safe for our son to ride.

The wife and I got to sleep around 3:30. At 5:30, our 4 children were in our room asking if it was time? Could they go down to see what Santa had brought?

We were up and downstairs at 5:30. After 2 1/2 hours sleep.

Santa’s gift discoveries always a happy occasion. For the children as well as parents. My wife and I no longer tired.

Now, I am older. Much. My Christmas eve’s and morning’s different.

Dinner at Lisa’s last night. In laws and friends joining in. Lisa cooked the big meal. Not seven fishes. Two. Shrimp and clams. Better than no fish.

I miss the Christmas eve big fish meals of days gone by.

A warm happy family and friends’ gathering.

The night was over by 8:30. I said my good byes. Will return to Lisa’s some time today.

Next stop was Donna and Terri’s. Pajama party! I had never been to a pajama party before.

I do not  have pajamas. I do not wear pajamas. I sleep in the nude. If it is cool, I throw on a tee shirt.

My “pajamas” last night were a pair of short white shorts and an extra long tee shirt. Everyone else in night gear.

One of the ladies Jeanie Maes. A contemporary age wise. She is 5 years younger than me.

Jeanie an artist. Offers her works for sale on Duval in front of the Prudential real estate offices. Her works primarily wildlife. She paints at home 4 days a week. Sells the paintings on Duval  3 days a week.

Began life in Belgium. Then a time in Montreal. Now, a Key Wester.

A lesbian. Wrote a book about being a lesbian married to a doctor in Belgium. Divorced at some point, obviously.

She is working on a second book. On the Other End of My Life.

A personality.

Exhaustion hit me. I said my good byes and left at 10. Spoke with Donna this morning.

She said they went till well after midnight.

Dinner later today with Lisa and family.

I went off my diet. True blue for 30 days. Could not miss the good food, however. Especially Lisa’s home made Christmas cookies. I did a number on them! Topped Lisa’s sweets with Donna’s Spanish cookies. So good. My body had to be going carb crazy!

The trip home from Donna and Terri’s took me down Flagler. Beautiful! Just about every home decorated. Big time! I suspect a few fuses had to be blown along the way.

A surprise for me. Discovered yesterday that Irma and Me had received a degree of formal recognition.

My publisher is Absolutely Amazing eBooks. The publisher, in conjunction with The New Atlantic Library, designated Irma and Me as one of their 2017 Editors’ Picks. A 2017 favorite.

I am pleased. Actually, impressed.

Irma and Me continues to be in demand. Internet purchases back ordered three weeks.

Enjoy your Christmas Day. Go back to worrying about things tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas eve and Christmas day both important. Most Italian-Americans give a bit more attention to Christmas Eve.

Whether the day before Christmas or Christmas day itself, each I would describe as a conspiracy of love. Even relatives who avoid each other all year, bury their animosities. Everyone kumbaya.

The dinner the night of Christmas Eve a big deal. The end of several days of preparation. The day itself further preparation.

Cooking smells permeate the house. A big fish dinner ahead. Seven fishes.

In spite of all the preparation and planning, there are snafus. Last minutes ones. Additional groceries to buy. Last minute gift shopping. Grandma getting her hair done. Wrapping presents (takes forever and many hands), setting the table, finish decorating the tree, some one cannot make it on time, etc.

The conspiracy of love is pure confusion! It reaches its high point and ultimate reward when all sit down to dinner. Anywhere from 10 to 30 guests.

Card tables set up all over the place. Age determines who sits at the dining room table. Some adults are still relegated to the card tables at 25. Since tiny tots. Waiting to move up.

The meal spectacular! Grandmom and Mom did their usual best. Everyone enjoys! Grandmom and Mom taking special pleasure in seeing their family seated all around and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Which brings me to a comparable story. One involving confusion leading to Christmas warmth. And a special reward!

Joan Lunden for more than 20 years was host of Good Morning America. When she left, she turned to writing. Became an acclaimed journalist.

Eighteen years ago, Emotional Health printed one of her short stories. It was about Santa Claus and a bad day he was experiencing Christmas eve day.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainer elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones.

Santa began to feel pressure.

Mrs. Santa told him her mother was coming. Such increased Santa’s stress more.

Santa went out to harness the reindeer. Not all were in shape to travel the skies that evening. Three were about to give birth.  Two others had jumped the fence. To where, Santa knew not.

Santa began to load the sleigh. One of the floor boards cracked and a toy bag fell to the ground. Toys scattered all over.

Santa had had it for the moment. He needed a drink. Went inside for a cup of apple cider and shot of rum.. He went to the cupboard. Only to discover that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

He accidentally dropped the empty cider jug. Broke into hundreds of pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Santa went to get the broom to clean up. Only to discover the mice had eaten all the straw at the end of the broom.

Just then, the door bell rang. The noise further irritated Santa. Obviously not having a good day.

He rushed to the door and yanked it open. There stood an angel. Holding a large Christmas tree.

The angel said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

The thrust of the story. After all the exasperations experienced, there finally comes a time when joy abounds. The angel at Santa’s door with the tree, the Italian family sitting down to Christmas eve dinner.

Another reason, also. The story explains the tradition why in many homes, a little angels sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Love Christmas Eve! I look forward tonight to dinner with Lisa and the family.

Enjoy your day!