We had a great time celebrating Christmas Eve at my parents’ house.

We didn’t arrive early, exactly, but we had plenty of time before we would sit down to eat. My mom had a pair of glasses a little like those paper 3D glasses, except they altered the way lights appeared. Namine took turns looking through them with her grandma and great grandpa.

For dinner, we had the traditional Eiche Christmas dinner: lasagna. My mom made two variations of my grandpa’s recipe — one was spicy, and one not. Jessica and I each had a slice of both, but Namine played it safe with the calmer of the two.

After dinner, it was time to open presents.

Of all the presents Namine received, however, a few stood out in importance.

The first was an ornament containing a picture from when we went to Florida with my family earlier this year, when my dad and I transformed my sister and Namine (respectively) into mermaids in the sand.

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Namine's new ornament

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Namine and Lydia as sand mermaids

When Namine was asked what she wanted for Christmas, she said she wanted experiences more than things. My mom got her some cooking classes, and my brother and his wife got her — as well as Jessica and myself — a trip (date to be determined) to Safari Lake Geneva. It’s a guided safari tour filled with animals from all over the world!

The last thing that Namine unwrapped was a giant box. It turned out to be a bike — or, at least, something close to a bike. It’s called a Twister Roller, like Namine’s Roller Racer in therapy. Instead of pedaling with her feet, she pivots her body back and forth in order to generate the momentum used by the bike to propel itself forward.