Jason Lombardi

Just Some Thoughts About Christmas

Christmas in my family is laced with traditions, beginning roughly ten years before I was born. Specifically, I mean spending a week or two at our cabin near Trinity Lake in the mountains of northern California. This includes three generations of our family, and used to be four (though that was a long time ago, almost before my memory). Grandma and Grandpa Lombardi, their daughter Aunt Teri, her husband Uncle Steve, my parents Troy and Mavis, my brother Anthony, and I, all crowded into a mostly-wood cabin for upwards of a week. That's not even including my grandparents several successive pairs of dachshunds, who like to bark a lot. We love them though, Edi and Risky ("Business") are always warm on our laps.

Christmas Eve is fun, involving moving presents under and around the tree, plus opening one present per person. Usually its at the giver's discretion as to which one is opened, but that tradition was adopted from Uncle Steve's family but we only know his brother Roger. In addition to the previous mentions, another tradition on the 24th is the enjoyment of Old-Fashions (an alcoholic cocktail), even the children have been allowed to partake if we chose. I never appreciated it until I was older though. 

In the morning, my brother and I used to race downstairs attempt to wake everyone up, there was no time to waste. More recently, we sleep in more than most and come down at our leisure. What follows is always a comforting sight, presents under the tree, lights on, everyone under blankets and eating a nice breakfast usually composed of scones and mimosas (cinnamon rolls too, if we're lucky).

Most of the day has been taken up by the ritual circle of present-opening. One present per person at a time, so we can appreciate the gift, as well as the reaction. However, this can lead to people running out of presents to open, and thus being skipped once they run out. We could replace that method, but I wouldn't know what would take its place. The rest of the 25th is dedicated to trying out our gifts, as well as preparing dinner. This is typically Steve's amazing ribs, methodically and scientifically barbecued using home-mixed seasoning rub.

All that takes place at Trinity, so it's unusual for the whole thing to be in Auburn this year, on account of my brother and I working at the same time, for the first time ever. Grandpa Toby told me that if I couldn't make the journey to the Cabin, no one would. I was incredibly touched, and it reinforces the idea that he and I are really good friends.

Thanks for reading.

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