FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It was a merry Christmas Monday for a big, blended family in Bergen County, New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, the holiday was extra special this year after one family member was diagnosed with an illness.
There was joy, laughter and more filling the house as Christmas morning became more like a Christmas marathon for 4-year-old Luke.
“I’m so happy,” Luke said. “Santa brought me a lot of gifts.”
Three families came together in the Neary-Burns household on 35th Street in Fair Lawn. Uncle Mike Neary came all the way from Georgia.
“This is home!” he said. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Uncle mike’s actually in Luke’s little bed,” explained Tom Burns.
“We removed the race car bed and we gave him a twin,” said Eileen Neary-Burns.
Eileen is one of six adult children. Her mother, Kathleen, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer this year.
“We’re at peace — all of us,” Kathleen Neary said.
This month also marks 15 years since Eileen’s first husband, John, died. His picture hangs on the Christmas tree as an ornament.
“I don’t know how to express the love that this man had for his family,” said grandmother Rita Neary.
So they call this year a Christmas miracle.
“Definitely, I feel him,” said Joey Neary.
They gave thanks – even to strangers who deliver mail to their door.
“Here, they don’t steal packages. They get water and they get good food,” said Mike Neary. “We feed them well.”
An annual tradition is decorating the Christmas tree, but perhaps the most important is leaving chocolate chip cookies and milk for Santa.
Santa thanked them with a note, saying it was just what he needed to keep him going through the snowy night.
“We’re just one big happy family now, and that means the world to me,” said Rita Neary.