The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 25 — “All Good Things”


I woke up this morning before anyone else in the house, as usual, but unlike usual, I felt almost sad. The frenzied elation and zealotry that defined the Christmas mornings of my youth had given way to a quiet coffee in my armchair, a chapter of a book, and the knowledge that a day can only last so long, and that this amazing Christmas season — made all the more amazing by my fantastic children and loving wife, was drawing to a close.

Last night, we had Sonja’s dad and his wife over for dinner, and it was great to see them and to spend Christmas Eve in their loving company. Sonja made cauliflower soup and I made beef back ribs, and we paired them with an amazing Rhone blend from Tom Meadowcroft. It’s called River Trace, a G-S-M that was limited to maybe 120 cases and combines the best of what we love about old world Rhone characteristics with the pop of new world terroir.  It paired brilliantly with the food. If you ever get the chance, be sure to try this wine.

Today was spent mostly at Sonja’s mom’s house. The kids got a lot of grandparent action in, which was great. Susan and Glen had made an amazing prime rib and a ton of pies and cookies. We ate ourselves silly, and our kids opened presents for the second time.  With dinner, we paired a nice red blend from the Golan Heights.

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Zooey had a pretty rough day, between having a cold — possibly an ear infection, and being sort of cranky by toddler nature anyway. Momma sharing her pie with her seemed to help.


Tonight I’m at home on the couch with Sonja beside me, both of us working on our laptops with the Lakers beating Golden State in the background. It has been a truly amazing Christmas season, as I’ve often reflected upon in my writing over the course of this lengthy series of posts, your readership of which I have truly appreciated and which has, in truth, kept me writing all this time. My kids and my wife have added a magic to this season that I never knew, while wine has fueled a lot of fun social experiences and dinners, and your reading along has inspired me to keep reporting on it along the way. Now, of course, this literary advent calendar must come to an end, but not without one last shout out of gratitude. Thank you for reading. Happy holidays.

Cheers to you,


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