Wow, so my first Christmas at home as a married man was fairly eventful. The Christmas part of it was chock full of awesomeness. My wife went all out to make the casa completely beautiful. I miss so many Christmas events because of the nature of my work, so when I get home, I usually have the Christmas spirit. When you watch the events unfold from the sidelines for so long, I guess it imbues one with a sense of balance and proportion, and it becomes easier to avoid the rat race and the mad scramble to impoverish oneself to appease the foolish notion that stuff=love.
Not to say that I didn't lavish the fam with stuff. I most certainly did. Only a touch too much, though, IMHO. The religious and familial aspects of the holiday still were the focus. And I enjoyed very much the radically different holiday customs of the Brazilian side of my family. My boy certainly got the best of both worlds. There was stuff in his stocking, AND Papa Noel also left small toys in my boy's shoes, which were left under the window, of course.
The last few days leading up to Christmas were stressful only in that they were very busy. The presents were all bought reasonably ahead of time. Hosting family for a Christmas Eve party here at the Ant Farm was another matter. The 23rd was our busiest day, and, at the stroke of midnight on the 24th, I got jolted out of bed by one of the dreaded midnight calls...
My father has a habit of falling victim to a medical crisis ONLY between midnight at 6am. It's like magic, and it's pretty much an annual thing. His heart is very, very weak, being held together with duct tape, spit, and baling wire. Anyhow, unfortunately, at the very start of Christmas eve, he had to be rushed into the hospital. This has happened at least a dozen times in the last 10 years, but it's always scary. He's recovering, although the first night was pretty miserable for him. Christmas day was spent arranging who was visiting when to his hospital room, so there was always family there. Considering how badly he felt on the 24th, despite his location, it was a pretty merry Christmas- by the evening, he was feeling much improved. So, despite my father's absence from home during the day itself, it was a good Christmas... but damn, today we're all beat.