I mostly enjoy the holidays. I say mostly because there are parts that I find less savory--for example, sometimes cookies are crunchy when I think they're going to be soft. I hate that. I also hate spicy cookies. They're blasphemous in the worst way. Just get on board with the rest of America and get that spike in your blood sugar. Anyway. Clearly the holidays are a stressful time. They aren't really, not for me, but for lots of people I know they are. I have an idea of how they could be stressful. Money is stressful. Money, or the lack thereof, cinches a belt so tight around the center of your chest you can feel the ache way up into your throat. Rough. Luckily I have no dependents, so I am not in charge of making the season magical for anyone. Do you want to know something sort of perverse that I thought of once? Think of a disappointed child on Christmas morning--big eyes trying to be brave but with a deep sadness that can only come from an illusion being shattered too soon. Now, imagine seeing that and knowing that it was you who were unable to provide Christmas the way Christmas is portrayed in mass media to children. Which is why I've decided to not have children until I have a mil in the bank and some sense beat into me.

I think it is easy to forget, in the midst of so much wrapping paper and receipts, what Christmas is, but I'd rather not preach about the season right now. Actually just one thing. The joy really is in giving and not receiving. Or at least among this clan--we were all (mostly) more interested in what we had to hand out than what we ended up with in our hands. So that's good news. And we saw our large, wonderful extended families on a whirlwind trip to Seattle. A good time was had by all, set to a background of classic Hobson family anthems*.  I was told recently that my family is "overwhelming" and that there is a lot of "commotion", all the time. I was also asked why we don't speak at a "normal" volume to each other. My reaction mostly involved denial (it's not that loud. Also EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE) and then a lecture on how big families breed toughness. For example, once I spent three days hiking and camping through the wilderness while I had pneumonia before my parents brought me to a doctor. I was 12. Also, I'm terrifically assertive. No demureness over here. We are loud and proud. Get used to it.

No really I recognize that this is a madhouse and many valid points were made. I can many excuses and no apologies, however. This is the only way I know.

After Christmas is always my lovely Mother's birthday, which she always says is the worst but I kind of like. It keeps that cozy warm together feeling going in the long homestretch to New Year's. It's nice. And I love my mom. She and my dad work really hard during the holidays to feed us**, primarily, and it's a good chance to celebrate her after so much madness.

And now New Year's is almost upon us. I've been thinking about resolutions but haven't settled on one. It's hard to decide what you'll be committing to for a solid twelve months. It's really just not my strong suit. Also I'm still feeling a little unsettled and I don't even know where to start. That's not true, I'm feeling good and positive about my future, but I think I need something concrete to want and wish for. It will take some deliberating.

I'm going to celebrate the turning of 2012 into 2013 among people I hopefully like--I know you're supposed to be with your loved ones ringing in the new year, but I'll be with my boyfriend's family. Who I think I will enjoy. They're Italian. I'm embracing them wholeheartedly. Just diving right on in.

xoxo Lauren

*A hearty round of applause to my cousin, who put down the Taylor Swift just long enough to concoct a playlist of epic proportions, which included but was not limited to September ( a classic), Holiday in the Sun (we used to jump around like manic depressives in an upswing to it on every family vacation--update: nothing's changed), Brick House (just actually figured out that they were not, in fact, celebrating brick and mortar as a superior building element, but that it was slang for a good lookin' lady. Sidenote: In another surprising revelation, did everyone in the world but me realize that Chanukah and Hanukkah are the same thing? I just found out the other day that they are. I always thought Chanukah was Christmas and Hanukkah combined. Coincidentally, I learned this from a Jewish person after making an enormously embarrassing social faux pas. Classic moi.) Anyway, the play list was remarkable and should be saved for future use. Hint hint.

**Three cheers for beef wellington, which my Father so handily crafted. It was sublime. He is an excellent cook. My sister is also very fashionable. She was recognized at work. Let it be known, I am surrounded by good looking and culinary talented people.