I woke up this morning and rolled over to check the time only to realize it was already noon. I drag myself out of the bed to perform my daily routine. Use bathroom. Plug in flat iron. Brush teeth and wash face. Get back in the bed. Today is the most wonderful time of the year and I’m going to my aunt’s house to celebrate with my family. However, I know that when they say the event will start at one o’ clock they really mean an hour or two or whenever everybody gets there; whichever comes first. For this very reason I can take my time and enjoy the smell of Christmas. To me, it is the smell of heaters burning and the lovely aroma of food floating in the air; it’s my only motivation to get up.

I know when I walk through the door of the party I will be overwhelmed with loud talking and even louder laughing. I ritually go around giving hugs whether or not I know the person. Then we all impatiently wait for the latecomers to arrive and even longer for the food to get done. In the meantime, the den and the living room are filled to maximum capacity and multiple conversations are in progress. Auntie sheila, Tee Tee, and my mom are going on about recycled gift bags while Uncle Lafayette, Stephan and my brother talk about–men stuff. Everyone else is checking in and out of conversations Despite such entertainment, the entire family is subconsciously wondering about the food or verbally inquiring about it. Uncle Lafayette attempts to give a speedy blessing of the food by saying “God bless the food. Amen”, but he fails miserably. We all grab hands and my mother, the minister, gives a proper blessing. Then every abled body rushes to the kitchen loading their plates with whatever looks good, usually everything. There’s cornbread, green beans, black eyed peas, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and too much more to name. Either way it’s all made with substance that has the ability to hush the whole house. Nothing is heard, but the sounds of chewing mouths and stomachs being comforted. It’s an amazing moment, but not as great as the opening of presents. A tradition that progressively gets played out, making Thanksgiving my favorite holiday because it never lets me down. However, I realize that Christmas is more memorable because I have lowered my expectations so my family can exceed them every time.