This holiday was one of the best I've had in ages. Wonderful presents and good times with family for a change.

None of my family asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my life, nor did they express subtle disapproval of my lifestyle as they have in the past. It was quite a refreshing change.

I received many gifts, the majority of which are useful (kitchen things, calendar, food) and not just for entertainment or filling my shelves with stuff. My mother gave me a new copy of "The Bell Jar", which I am thrilled about. I finally read the book as part of the E2 Book Lotto, but wanted to have a copy to read again. Now I have it. :) My husband gave me a great translation of Anna Karenina so I can finally explore that novel. He also gave me a new stereo to replace my dead one. This is wonderful wonderful wonderful. Music and books are my keys to staying sane. Listening to music through good speakers is very good for my mental health and my creativity. Plus, I get to reclaim shelf space since its so darn small!

We received lots of edible treats from my mother-in-law, my stepmother, and my sister-in-law. I am almost sick of cookies. We got some yummy fruit though, and that's a good thing.

Only drawback this year - I was given some lavender sachets by my mother-in-law, and my father-in-law sent some nice lavender drawer liners and bath stuff. My husband and I are allergic to lavender in a big way. I spent a lot of the day snuffling and sneezing, and the lavender things from my father-in-law were banished to the garage until they can be returned to the catalog company he bought them from. I feel bad about returning a gift. Its the first time I've had to do that in a long, long time.

Best gift(s) of all - spending lots of time with my husband enjoying each other's company and seeing my sister-in-law in good health and good spirits. She has been undergoing chemotherapy for the last four months for a rare form of breast cancer. She seems to be doing quite well, and it was great to see her today with a lot of her old energy back. :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!