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As I lay here resting this Christmas night, I am present to the magic, love, joy and wonder that has filled my heart and spirit. I could not have asked for a more beautiful Christmas. This Christmas, like every Christmas, I spent in the company of my family.

My sister-in-law had Christmas Eve dinner. I shared this meal with my niece, nephews, brother, sister-in-law and her dad. I just adore my niece and nephews. I shared some of my drawings with them and showed them new apps for art and games. Since my niece and nephews are teenagers, I felt it was ok to share a little bit more of myself with them. There was a couple of times after sharing with them, I would say “Don’t tell your Dad (my brother) what I just told you.” They assured me they wouldn’t. What was so cool about sharing with them was that they wanted to know me. I felt how much they love me and that they just wanted to know their Aunt. What was surprising to me was how much the boys showed me they cared. They are teenage boys and have a lot of things going on in their lives, but they let me know how important I am to them.

My sister, brother-in-law, and niece came over after dinner, as well as my sister-in-law’s sister, husband and son who flew in from Seattle. We all sat down and had desert. I simply adore my sister-in-law’s sister. She is so friendly and a great person. Over the years I have come to love her like a sister. We chatted at the table for a couple of hours when someone said, “It’s snowing”. With that, we all put on our coats and went outside to play in the snow. We made snow angels and had a snowball fight. My little niece, who is 7, was running around throw snowballs at everyone. She is just so cute and everyone let her throw snow at them. It was just a beautiful night with the snow falling and everyone playing, laughing and loving one another.

After the snowball fight, my sister, brother-in-law, niece and myself got in my sister’s car and drove to her home. As soon as we got home, we took a few pictures of my niece in the snow, put out the reindeer feed and then she went off to bed. My sister and I then got busy wrapping her gifts and setting up the iPad for my niece to open in the morning. Then my sister pushed me out the door to kick around the reindeer feed. I did my best to make it look like reindeer ate some of the feed. We finally got to sleep at around 2am. My niece was up at 7:30 to open gifts. Watching children opening gifts Christmas morning is the most precious gift of all.

After the morning gifts, we were off to church. Yes, once a year I walk into a church. I do this for my family since they are Christians. After church, it was back to my brother’s for another Christmas meal. Everyone who was there the night before came back Christmas Day. We took lots of pictures and sat down for lunch. We chatted again for a few more hours. Then someone said we have gifts to open. We all marched downstairs and opened more gifts. We took more pictures and talked some more.

Finally, it was time for me to return to my home and my life. As I said goodbye, I felt love fill my spirit. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to share this Christmas with awesome people. These Christmas memories will be held close to my heart for the rest of my life.

May the magic, joy, love, and wonder of the Christmas season be with you throughout the year.