Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. This year it will start off with me being on the air and then home for the rest of the day. When I get home my wife will already be hard at work in the kitchen cooking the 13-course Russian Christmas dinner. My mother-in-law was of Russian descent and she, just like her mother before her, served this 13-course meal every Christmas Eve. For the last 16 years that we have been together, Chris has kept the tradition going at our house in Endicott.

Enjoying the meal this year will be Chris and me, Ian, Ian's dad John, and our Aunt Blanch who was Chris' Mother's sister-in-law. She is the last living member of that generation of the family. (Keep scrolling for more)

The meal starts with a shot of Vodka. Yes, that is course number 1. After all, it is a Russian dinner. That is followed by a clove of raw garlic. Course 3 is homemade bread that Chris makes from scratch. The fourth course if one of my favorites. It's Podpinki which is sauteed mushrooms.

Course 5 is lima beans. I'm not a big fan of lima beans so I only have a few of those. Then is kapusta. I know, it sounds like I'm making these names up, but I'm not. Kapusta is sauerkraut soup. This has lima beans in it, but the sauerkraut kills their taste enough that they are edible.

Then we pass around the Bablki. That's pierogi dough in butter and onions. Course number 8 is mashed potatoes which are followed by my wife's homemade pierogies. They are awesome!

The 10th course of the meal is fish. The fish is breaded and pan-fried with lemon. Then finally the dessert is brought out to round off the meal. Courses 11, 12 and 13, are apricots, prunes, and homemade cookies. My wife makes 9 different kinds of cookies each year including kolachki, zazvorniki, and 7 others.

After dinner is done, we head to the living room and open presents around the tree. We then take aunt Blanch back to the nursing home and get ready for midnight mass.

When we get home from church, I like to stand outside, look at all the Christmas lights and just take in the peaceful feeling the quiet night offers.

I hope you have an awesome Christmas surrounded by the people that mean most to you.