Family Christmas in Florida

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  With family gatherings, good food and drink, festivities and time free of everyday responsibilities, what’s there not to like?

Normally during this time I’m given a reprieve from teaching and preparing for classes and also from reporting to an office.  These days with travel back to Florida, I’m even on “vacation.”  That means there isn’t much on the agenda save for hanging out.

Christmas Eve

After my birthday celebration was complete at midnight, the holidays were in full force in the Pinder household.

During the day, my Dad took Dave, me and my Brother on a leisurely boat ride around the coves behind our house.

We were out cruising for a couple of hours, but the sun wasn’t strong enough for us to get any color.  Sadly, Dave, my Brother and I are all in serious need of a tan.  Dave and I are always bundled up in windy San Francisco, and my Brother has had his fair share of cold in Atlanta.  Other than the boat ride and some laying around, we didn’t do much else on Christmas Eve until it was the evening time.

This year we had our usual nice Christmas Eve family dinner at home.  My Mom’s friend Susan (Mrs. Rose) joined us.

My job is always to set the table, and I was just finishing up when Susan arrived.  We all sat around the kitchen having wine and chatting, took a moment for a holiday photo-shoot and began our feast in the dining room just before 8 p.m.

For our feasting pleasure, my Mom prepared seafood bisque as an appetizer, followed by roasted tenderloin, lobster tails, potatoes, salad, steamed spinach, black-eyed peas, rice and rolls.  It was darn good.

Family Christmas Eve

My Mom and Brother and one of his dogs, who always make the trip for the holidays.

Family Christmas Eve

My Mom and me in our green dresses, a matching scenario we didn’t even plan.

Mom and me at Christmas

Christmas Eve continued with wine and a game of Apples to Apples, in which Mrs. Rose ran away with a big victory.

Our final activity included tons of dessert, consumed on Christmas paper plates in the living room.  Apple pie, pumpkin pie, ice cream, fudge and leftover birthday cake made for a nice spread.  There’s not much I love more than eating holiday dessert in front of a Christmas tree.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, we had breakfast, opened presents and headed out for our annual Boca Grande beach BBQ (which sadly Dave and I missed last year due to travel; in fact, this was his first time participating in this much-loved Pinder family tradition since he’s been in our lives, and I know he enjoyed it.)

Boca Grande BBQ

My parents live about 15 minutes from Boca Grande, so we can get over there in no time at all, and December in Florida is always a friendly environment for being outside.  We found the perfect table, set up, fired up the grill and enjoyed lunch al fresco.

After that, it was time for a beach walk and a rousing game of frisbee.

Boca Grande frisbee

Boca Grande Christmas

There’s always a good amount of people on the beach on Christmas Day.  This year it was a little bit too cold for sunbathing, yet we still saw some snowbirds in the frigid water.

In the late afternoon, we packed up camp and headed home so Dave and I could shower and drive up to his parent’s house for Christmas dinner in St. Pete.

Dave’s family was excited to see us and welcomed us with a dinner of roast beef and mashed potatoes.  Then we each changed into a new set pajamas, one of their much-loved Christmas traditions, and exchanged a couple of presents.  After a dessert of apple cobbler, most of us called it a night, but Dave stayed up late to watch the Warriors game taking place in Pacific time.  Our visit was short, but sweet, and we were glad to have the opportunity to see both of our families on the holiday.

Two Christmas celebrations came and went in a flash.  I look forward to Christmas with great anticipation beginning in early November every year, and this year was one of the fastest holiday seasons I can recall with only three weeks between Thanksgiving and December 25.  Maybe I need to start a new family tradition of celebrating Christmas in July as well, so we can make these awesome days happen more than once a year.

Since we finished up the holidays, I’ve been hanging out with friends around Southwest Florida and have loved catching up with so many of my favorite people.

Time in Florida surely flies.  Next up is New Year’s Eve in Orlando …

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