For several years, my little family would travel down to Florida to spend time with the bigger clan. The tradition of the Florida family is to celebrate on Christmas Eve. We have to have dinner at Grandma’s in the early afternoon, and then dress up and go to a late afternoon Mass. When we get back to Grandma’s, we all open presents.
There are five girl cousins on that side of the family (now six, counting my one guy cousin’s wife) and Grandma always would give us variations of the same present. And she numbers packages. My youngest cousins would divvy out the packages and then we would all open gift number one, a pair of pajamas. And then gift number two, a Christmas ornament. And then gift number three, a necklace (usually with our initial). And so forth. It was really fun and a testament to my Grandma’s creativity for finding five/six variations on a theme. While all this was happening, Grandma’s favorite artist, Nat King Cole, would be singing softly from the kitchen stereo. And although Florida weather rarely permits the open fire or jack frost nipping on your nose as the song mentions, our family gatherings were always merry and bright.