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Christmas for our family lasts a few days. Christmas eve, Christmas day, Christmas II, wherein we often end up getting things for ourselves on sale, and then Isaiah’s birthday. His claim is that we celebrate his birthday every year together because he’s the youngest, but the date is serendipitous.

This year, my nieces were old enough to count down the days to Christmas, and young enough that everything they did struck everyone else as adorable. Chloe was dying to open the pink-sparkle-encrusted gift I’d said was for her, and opened it to find a kid-friendly book on anatomy. She was appropriately intrigued.

The adults were happy because they had filled each other’s stockings with chocolate and small bottles of alcohol. I’d been saving a stash of scotch from Edinburgh, from a little side-street store I wandered into with five kegs tapped for sampling. I tasted five and liked two best, the 12-year-old Deanston smooth and balanced, the 9-year-old Ledaig smoky-wild, selecting bottles sized for hand-luggage transport and stockings. I took to the streets of Edinburgh again with a heavy bag and blood warmed by five thimble-sized drams.

I’m trying not to think too hard about that Scotch now. It was so delicious, and I did not save any for myself.

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