To my fellow Christmas babies. You know how this works. There simply aren’t enough days in December to plan and celebrate the mammoth holiday of Christmas and to throw you a singular birthday celebration. Now, I’m really lucky because my parents always made a very big deal out of my birthday and never combined it with Christmas, but since Christmas has sort of become my favorite holiday and one of my very reasons for living over the years, I’ve started to blend the two into one, anyway.
Not a big fan of parties, I usually end up having several birthday celebrations that span into January. A dinner with a friend one night, a brunch with family members the next, and so on and so forth, culminating in one extravagant birthday dinner at the restaurant of my choosing hosted by my parents.
Today is my birthday, but really, my birthday is just beginning.
My first celebration was tacked on to the end of my actual favorite day of the year: Christmas Tree Decorating Day. I’m talking the big ass tree at the Malanga family house in Calabasas. I love decorating our own little family’s Christmas tree, too, but that doesn’t take a whole day like this one does. Everyone has to pitch-in to get this sucker ready to go, and that’s probably the best part about it.
So many Malanga family traditions take place on this day. We listen to Christmas music, specifically the Barbra Streisand “A Christmas Album” and “A Merry Christmas With Bing Crosby And The Andrew Sisters”. These albums include some of our most favorite holiday songs. I love I’d Like To Hitch A Ride With Santa Claus; Poppa Santa Claus; and The Christmas Tree Angel on the Big Crosby/Andrew Sisters album. But of course, Barbra (on whom I was raised and whom I adore in every single way possible) includes her quirky Jingle Bells and my all-time favorite Christmas song The Best Gift. I was born a week before Christmas, so this was always my mom’s favorite. Now, as I am yearning to start a family and traditions of my own with Max, I finally understand why my mom cries every time this song comes on. A baby; an addition to the family you love so much and the lineage you worship, really is “the best gift”. Can’t wait for my time to hold my baby and cry those crazy mama tears, but yet, I’m waiting. If you are a mother, go download that song RIGHT NOW. Dare you not to well up.
We have ornaments on this tree that were my mother’s favorite ornaments as a child. Each ornament is a story and each ornament we hang up involves the person doing the hanging telling the story behind the ornament they chose. There is a lot of reminiscing done on these days.
Christmas Tree Decorating Day beats Christmas in my book because there are no gifts to open, no crazy meals to prepare. This day is all about family, memories, and traditions. That’s why I’m all about Christmas in the first place.
After the tree was up, we held an intimate family birthday celebration for yours truly. I received some wonderful gifts this year, and I am so grateful for my family that knows me so well. Then, unexpectedly, my Guncle Brian comes out of the guest room with my birthday cake.
His idea was to make a cake full of all of my favorite things. As it is truly a piece of art, it has been given a name-The Megan Sitting In Bed Holding Smudge, Eating A Pizza, Watching The Sopranos Cake. It is my favorite birthday cake I’ve ever had. Call me lame that these are my favorite things in life, but whatever, it is a damn good life as far as I’m concerned. All that’s missing is Max sitting in the bed next to me and maybe a dog at the foot of the bed.
(*Details: That is my exact bedding set. EXACT-like Guncle Brian called up the manufacturer and got specifications.)
I hope you can get a good look at the detail here. It is nuts and the entire thing is edible down the the TV wire (black licorice). My Guncle Brian is one talented dude. And if you are as impressed as I am, you should hit him up to have your cakes (or murals, or props, or basically anything that can be sculpted, painted, and created with love) made, Los Angeles. I will never forget the love that went into this cake or how incredibly it turned out. P.S. Red velvet, baby!
Anyway, here’s hoping for a happier 30th year around the sun and some exciting changes in my life this year. Happy 29th birthday, Megan Malanga Coane!