I love Christmas! Christmas was, and still is, a big deal in my house. I grew up in the north. We would go and cut down our tree every year, after meticulously looking and placing random articles of clothing on various trees that were in the running. When it was time to decorate the tree, my mom would break out the boxes of ornaments. No matchy-matchy tree in our house. We had ornaments from family vacations and popsicle reindeers with our kindergarten picture on it that my mom never parted with.
Every year, we got an ornament that marked whatever we were into that year, so decorating the tree was like looking at a timeline of our life. We got our Christmas pajamas every year on Christmas Eve. We always got them, but we were supposed to pretend like we never knew what the “secret gift” was. After church, we would drive around with a thermos of hot chocolate and the Christmas cookies we had made earlier that day, and look at Christmas lights.
Christmas morning, we took turns opening gifts and stayed in our pj’s all day. We’d end up watching a new movie that someone got and playing a game. I didn’t appreciate it enough as a child, but all that family time is Christmas to me.
Rooted in traditions
Our family Christmas was rooted in these traditions. As a transplant here, I don’t have family close by, and even though I still love Christmas, I find this time of year hard because I just want to be home. Oddly enough, most of our Christmas traditions started because my parents weren’t near their families either.
I find myself always wanting to be home. Yes, the travel is hard, but it feels odd for Christmas to be just us. On the flip side, I know how special Christmas was for me and my siblings, and I want that for my own children. I feel caught between the young me that’s wants to be home with my family in my living room and the mom me that wants to create all these memories and traditions with my own children in their home. I’m torn between doing all the things I grew up with, and creating new traditions with my family.
When I hear the song “home for the holidays” I keep waiting to feel like this is home, but it still feels like my childhood home to me. I hope I can make the holidays so special for my own kids that they feel this connected when they are adults. It’s a selfish problem to have, to feel so close with my family that I want to celebrate major holidays with them. I will continue to look at my blessings, my family, near and far, and give extra thanks this year.