Christmas is the only day I don’t wish I were a Boston Celtic. If I were playing basketball in a random city on Christmas day, I would miss my friends and family.
Christmas is about waking up in the morning and opening presents, and it’s about feeling awful that I’m too broke to buy presents for anyone else.
It’s about polishing off enough food to feed twelve Michael Sweetneys, and it’s about seeing ten delicious-looking desserts and not being able to choose which one I want (and inevitably choosing to eat all ten).
It’s about calling It’s a Wonderful Life the world’s most overrated movie, just to piss off my brothers, and it’s about tearing up when my family actually watches it. It’s about Zuzu’s petals, and Clarence’s wings, and “Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan.” It’s about hoping I grow up to become George Bailey.
It’s about memories of my dad dressing up as Santa Claus, and it’s about memories of being five or six, on Christmas Eve, wondering how Santa reached every house in the world. It’s about concluding, “Well, it’s not THAT tough, because there are so many time zones.”
It’s about the one time a random stranger accidentally walked into my house on Christmas Day. It’s about how one of my aunts opened the door, and, thinking the stranger must actually be a forgotten relative, received him with a hug and a kiss.
It’s about calling my aunts hyenas, because they laugh so hard. It’s about my one aunt who’s addicted to dropping f-bombs, and it’s about my one uncle who talks about beaming people into outer space. It’s about my one uncle who wears only jump suits, and it’s about my one aunt you can hear from five miles away. It’s about my younger cousin earning straight A’s at Brown, and my older cousin who still couldn’t get straight A’s in kindergarten.
It’s about re-hashing the same stories as we do every year, and still laughing every time.
It’s about the time one of my uncles was drunk and wanted to buy more booze, except the liquor store was closed. It’s about how he reacted the way any normal person would — he walked to the rectory, woke up his priest, and begged the priest for the church’s wine.
It’s about the time my other uncle was in high school, and woke up the morning after a night of heavy drinking. It’s about his parents asking him, “Son, were you drinking last night?” It’s about his natural response (“No”), and it’s about his parents’ reply: “Then, umm, why did you piss all over your mother when you got home?”
It’s about realizing, all over again, how lucky I am to be part of a loving family, and to have relatives who would drop anything to help me — even if we’re a bunch of quacks with a million issues apiece.
It’s about sitting on the couch, with a Coke in one hand and a piece of cake in the other, surrounded by almost all the people I love, watching the best slate of regular-season NBA games David Stern has to offer. It’s about hoping my Christmas gifts include a Celtics win against the new-look Magic, and it’s about knowing, even if the C’s lose, life is good.
On second thought, fuck that. The Celtics better win.