This was Christmas time in Los Angeles, far away from the friendly confines of Idaho and Nevada. These were the states in which our families resided. These were the places where many of the previous Christmases had been spent. Not this year. Fighting a distance of hundreds of miles, unemployment, and low-paying jobs had kept us in the city of Angels for the holidays. With a little creativity, love from far away, and the aforementioned Christmas ham, my three friends and I created a very special Christmas Eve of our own.
I grabbed a red plastic cup off of the disorganized table and treated myself to a cup of eggnog. Stories of past Christmases were told, each one growing more outrageous than the last. The jokes about whether or not Santa would find us here, tucked away in the slums of Los Angeles, kept us laughing and humble. We agreed to leave the lights of the Christmas tree lit overnight for Santa, knowing that the 2-AAA batteries purchased from the dollar store might not even last the next hour. I suggested we leave Santa a beer because even he might need an adult beverage from time to time. The antics of the night gave us new stories to tell and new memories to embrace.