Hello faithful readers! With Christmas coming up I figured I would do a write-up about this wonderful Holiday! Also, I might have to skip next week so I wanted to make sure I covered it before too long. What I wanted to talk about are holiday traditions. Every family has them and I love hearing what different ones people have. From the usual - going to church on Christmas Eve and driving around looking at the lights - the funny - going to a casino and playing the slot machines - and the daring - taking the Polar Plunge on New Year's Day. My family traditions have evolved over the years but I will share some of my favorite with you. In recent years on Christmas Eve my family and I will go see an afternoon movie (a tradition I proudly started with The Lord of the Rings), then join our community in setting out candle luminaries along the roads, drive around the neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights, enjoy a light dinner of rosy seafood chowder, attend a church service in the evening, and then fall asleep to a roaring fire. Then on Christmas morning my sister will come barreling into my room at the crack of dawn and jump on my bed exclaiming "it's Christmas, it's Christmas!" (I have never once beat her in this tradition and she still does it at the age of 26). Our father then makes us wait while he "makes preparations" in the living room. When he finally calls the all clear my sister and I run out and start examining our gifts. As part of this tradition my sister and I always have un-wrapped Santa gifts sitting out on the couch or a chair. After the excitement comes down to a bearable level we eat a light breakfast and enjoy some hot chocolate next to a great fire as we spill the contents of our stockings. Lastly we take turns opening "under the tree" gifts and then fall backwards on the pile of wrapping paper and boxes! That is a pretty standard Christmas in the Painter-Pariani house. Some of the other traditions that have faded over time include playing a game of I-Spy with a hard to find green canoe Christmas ornament (the finder of which wins a special chocolate prize), opening one gift each on Christmas Eve, and traveling to North Carolina for a few days before or after Christmas to stay at the Grove Park Inn. What are your family traditions? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks for reading and Keep it REAL!