by Melinda Gallo

Early Christmas

Today we celebrated Christmas. Since we arrived in Denver, we've been to almost every mall around to shop for gifts and for ourselves. We wrapped all of the presents and exchanged them with Dave's family. We shipped everything last year, which might not have been too terrible, but on many items that were shipped to us in Italy, we had to pay duty on them when they arrived.

One thing I miss is that in Florence, they'll wrap any present for you any time of year. When we were at stores here (and it's not Christmas), you can't get anyone to wrap a gift for you unless you pay extra. I wonder if the Italians give more gifts or if they just like to wrap them for you.

We all gathered in the basement next to a small Christmas tree to open the presents. Normally, we would do this up in the living room near the window, but because of Halloween, I assumed that we didn't want everyone to see that we were celebrating Christmas early.

Afterwards, we went out for ribs, which was a treat for us since we don't get BBQ baby back ribs back in Florence. We're still enjoying all the American specialties that we can't get back home. I'm thinking that I could try to make them, but they still wouldn't be the same as eating them here.

It felt great to celebrate Christmas together and exchange gifts with all of Dave's family. Last year we didn't get to see our nephew's face when he opened his presents and this year it was the highlight.

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