Today was my fourth Christmas gathering, and the first one at which I exchanged gifts. The previous ones had been with step-family or cousins with whom I no longer exchange gifts. Actually, that's not entirely true. My cousin David (the one in the Peace Corps in Tanzania) is back for a few weeks. He brought back some souvenirs, including "tire sandals," which are flip-flops made from used car tires. Today was for the real gifts. Highlights of my giving included the cute pink outfit for my two-week-old niece, some nice clothes for my sister and mom, a Smartwool top for a brother-in-law, and a camcorder for the new parents (a combined gift from everyone). Highlights of what I received included a guitar from a sister, a great cookbook (The New Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated; it's bigger than most phone books), and a set of nice kitchen knives (Forschner by Victorinox, the Swiss Army Knife company) recommended by Cook's Illustrated (surprise!). It was a great day, full of great gift exchanges. I hope everyone out there is having a nice time with the people in their life that they care about.