Christmas 2017!

I may be a month late, but my Christmas photos are finally ready to share!

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Here is a scan of the holiday card I mailed out this year (it was my third year getting them via a Staples Groupon deal — $15 for 50 custom cards with envelopes):

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I flew back from Denver in the wee hours of Christmas Eve, landing in Hartford at 3:30am on the 24th. My mom and dad win parents of the year award for staying up hours past their bedtime to drive on icy roads and pick me up in the middle of the night. Baggage took awhile to come out so we didn’t get back home until around 5am! So we took it easy on the 24th, sleeping in late (all of us) and wrapping Xmas gifts (me).

On Xmas Eve night, I normally go to the 11pm service at my childhood church, but I was too wiped out from traveling this year, plus the roads were icy. My family enjoyed a delicious dinner and played some games. I finally finished up my gift wrapping (I had shipped everything to CT in the weeks before Xmas). We woke up on Christmas morning to snow:

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My sister baked cinnamon rolls (in honor of my grandmother who used to bake them on Xmas morning), and we ate them with coffee while opening our stockings.

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This Christmas was all about the dogs. We watched them open gifts, one by one. Oscar got into opening them this year. Missy still doesn’t care unless it’s a treat! But it’s a lot of fun to share that excitement with them.

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The Xmas coffee mugs I got at Target years ago made their annual appearance (I love them!):

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The gift of coffee is the best gift of all! I enjoy Koffee in New Haven and my sister got me a gift card there.

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The pups show off their new outfits (they couldn’t care less, but they’re so cute!):

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Beth got Oscar dog boots and watching him try to walk in them was hilarious — like a baby fawn trying to take its first steps.

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I left around noon to go to my childhood church for a few hours volunteering at the community meal. This was my third year participating and it adds so much to the holiday to share fellowship with other people, most of whom don’t have family nearby to celebrate the day with. This is my new friend Ron who used to be a train conductor and freelance photographer. I also chatted with Bob and Norma, and a few other people. Then I washed dishes after the meal ended. Most of the volunteers are there from early in the morning to cook the food (and deliver meals to shut-ins) so they get a lot more credit for putting this whole day together for the community. But it feels really good to be even a small part of it.

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By late in the day most of this morning’s snow had melted.

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My mom made a delicious meal for dinner that night — lemon roasted fingerling potatoes, broccoli, crispy kale, and stuffed salmon:

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I didn’t write much about gifts above — the main thing I asked for was books. I picked out some of them at the Book Barn (terrific used book store in CT) back in October and had my mom and dad put them away for me for Xmas, then asked for a few others. This will keep me going for most of the year.

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I got a few new photo gadgets from Photojojo. Unfortunately I was really disappointed by that ring light below — it is WAY too bright, even at its lowest setting. I tried it out with my sister as the subject and she couldn’t pose for photos without squinting. But I like the “smoovie,” which is a video stabilizer for the iPhone or GoPro, giving it a SteadiCam quality. I will put it to good use this summer at the camp program I help lead.

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The other big gift I have been using daily is a new backpack — eBags makes two versions and this is the smaller one. It’s perfect for going into NYC for a day of seeing shows where I just bring my laptop, a book, water bottle, etc.

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As for gifts I gave, I got my parents an Apple TV to streamline how they watch shows (and so they could use AirPlay to watch things from their other Apple devices). Plus some gift certificates for restaurants they frequent. I got my sister TSA PreCheck, which she has since gone on her interview and been approved for. But the best gift I gave my family was to digitize old video footage I shot years ago (2003-2008) featuring interviews with my grandparents, plus lots of other random family footage from that time. I spent most of October digitizing the footage; it’s a project I’ve been meaning to tackle for a decade. And now it feels really precious to see those clips since my grandparents have all passed. It’s neat to “spend time with them” watching these interactions from years ago, seeing them walk and talk and come alive in a way that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Thanks for reading! I hope you had a relaxing holiday with people you love.

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