This was a Christmas of firsts for us. Primarily, this was the first Christmas that we actually celebrated in our own home. When we were stateside, holidays were split between our own two families meaning we saw more of Interstate 95 than we did our Christmas tree. Our previous two Albanian Christmases involved hotel rooms in other cities. While it was wonderful to experience Christmas markets, live nativity scenes and outdoor concerts, these holidays just never truly felt like Christmas. This year, sitting in front of our own tree in the comfort of our own home, it finally did.
And then we had Christmas morning itself. Sidney's eyes lit up at the sight of his overflowing stocking and the pile of presents under the tree. He took the task of unwrapping seriously and the meticulous care he took in opening each item item was in complete contrast to the excitement of discovering what was inside. Books and a new winter jacket were met with the same level of excitement as the make your own sandwich kit and the toy aircraft carrier. Throughout it all Sidney kept repeating that Santa was so nice for bringing him presents. Hearing and seeing his excitement and witnessing his unparalleled belief in Santa made all of the chaos leading up to Christmas worth it. And, it made me a believer in the magic of Mr. Claus.