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Christmas with the Vanden Berges. (We’re not the Kranks, but close.)

My three greatest gifts: D.J., Brooke and Aaron.

Christmas with the Kranks is one of my favorite holiday movies, and to our surprise, the Vanden Berges (that’s us) are living out the movie in real time.

If you haven’t seen this holiday classic, here’s the short version: Luther and Nora Krank decide to trade their annual Christmas celebration for a Caribbean cruise when their daughter Blair says she won’t be coming home.

But you know what they say about those best made plans…

At the last minute, Blair decides to head home, sending her parents into a hilarious tailspin to get ready for Christmas. They must decorate the tree, shop for a ham, throw together their annual Christmas Eve party and get a ginormous Frosty on the roof so all is cozy and bright for Blair’s arrival.


Earlier this year, I was more than a little sad to learn that for the second year in a row, our oldest son D.J. would not make it home for Christmas. (He lives in Miami.)

And while our son Aaron and daughter Brooke would be home, Christmas just isn’t quite the same when we are all not together.

So imagine my surprise, when, while frantically preparing to ship presents to Florida, my phone rang. It was D.J.

I was talking a mile a minute, telling him about the packages he would soon be receiving, when he abruptly interrupted me.

“Mom, stop. Let me go first. I have something to tell you.”

I panicked.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. But I am coming home for Christmas. I got my shift covered at the hospital.”

Then he sent a picture of his plane ticket in our family text and that’s when the Kranks took over.

Stocking stuffers were bought, a special dessert was ordered and more good wine was purchased.

The Husband even had a new fire pit made for the backyard.

Frantic, fun and festive is how we roll. Like the Kranks.

D.J. is flying in this evening, just in time for our Christmas Eve celebration.

This is truly my favorite night of the year and I am so grateful I’ll be spending it with my favorite people.

I hope you will be too.

Merry Christmas Eve!


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