Uncle Irwin was just not the same this year……it’s as if something was going on behind those eyes- that wasn’t quite revealing itself. He had a peace about him that he didn’t have before. Not a false peace either, not like he was medicated, but something else. He spoke to me this year, as we sat side by side on the couch selecting our gift-buying names from the hat, as we do every year. When all numbers were drawn and the chatter subdued he sat there looking contemplative and blissfully quiet….He looked at me “I am so glad I drew your name,” he told me “because I know exactly what I want to buy for you.” out the corner of my eye, batting at the delicate antique silver angel on the tree branch was my Lolli’s fluffy black paw- a reverse hypnotherapy set in and I awoke from my daydream. Yes, of course a day dream, nobody is as sugary sweet as those old black and white Christmas movies. This year I had to make the holiday feel different. I desperately wanted that genuine full belly feel of goodness. So this year I intended to bring simplicity back to my holiday, the essence of being kissed under the mistletoe I needed to harness the joyful feel that I hear when I hear “rocking around the Christmas tree” I needed it to be like Rick Steve’s European Christmas, sledding down icy hills candles illuminating our night-filled path-so here’s what I did.