One of my favorite childhood memories is how my siblings and I would wake up before the sun came up on Christmas morning. My parents, being reasonable adults who worked for a living and spent a lot of effort getting the holiday ready for us, absolutely forbade us from waking them before 7 a.m. Besides, they told us, we needed to give Santa time to deliver all of the presents.
But we were way too excited to sleep. We’d get up around 4 a.m. and gather together in my or my sister Beth’s room. We had to stay quiet, but we’d all be so insanely excited it was hard to talk softly. That three-hour stretch every year felt like the longest time ever; we all thought we were going to burst!
I’m feeling that same kind of enthusiasm about Christmas this year, because for the first time in a very long time, almost my entire family will be together. Like many families, ours now live all over the place. But we’ll all be coming together this December — and like when I was a kid, I just can’t wait. Present, of course, will be me, my wife Tala, and our two children Alecia and Nicholas. The Scott family matriarch — my mom, Patricia — lives in Reston. (My dad has passed away). My brother, Robert; his wife, Jennifer; and their three children, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Michael also live locally and will all be attending our Christmas gathering. My sister Leigh will be coming in from Maine, and my brother Grant will be visiting from Raleigh.
Perhaps most excitingly — because we get to see them the least — is that my sister, Elizabeth, will be visiting us from Holland! She’ll be bringing her husband, Jitze; their three daughters Anja, Jennifer, and Carolyn; and Carolyn’s husband, Danian. The “kids” will be here for about 10 days, and Elizabeth and Jitze will be visiting stateside for about a month. We’re all so glad they’re coming.
From Tala’s side of the family, my mother-in-law Swetlana and my brother-in-law Michael will also be with us for Christmas; unfortunately, my other brother-in-law, George; his wife, Maria; and their two children, Luke and Inna won’t be able to attend. They live in California.
We’ll also particularly feel the absence of my brother Brian, who passed away more than a decade ago. I’m sure we’ll take the time to say a prayer, remember him, and be thankful for the time we did have together. We also wish his two children could be with us this Christmas.
I’m not sure how we’ll all fit at a single table together, but we’re truly thankful we’ve all been fully vaccinated and the U.S. has opened its borders, making this as safe a gathering as possible. It will be really exciting to have a big celebration, see each other, and share so many stories from our family’s past.
During this holiday season, I wish all of you and your families well. I hope you are blessed with good health and can gather with your loved ones to break bread and enjoy each other’s company. No matter how you celebrate this time of year, I hope you find a way to make it special.