It’s the holiday time of year, and for those that celebrate Christmas, it’s in two days! Seriously, when did that happen? My Christmas baking was finished a week or so ago and everyone is still heartily enjoying them (which us baking elves love to hear, I assure you), the few bits of goodies that are left anyway.
When I think of Christmas in my childhood, I mainly remember the Christmas tree and the lights, the snow village my mother use to have; we would erect it under the tree, and on a table that fit behind the couch for the season. I used to love arranging the village while listening to Christmas music and making the house festive while the scent of apple cinnamon candles filled the room. I have one memory in particular of being up early one morning with my mother, turning on only the Christmas tree lights, and we watched The Santa Clause together. It’s still a special memory for me.
For years, the tradition has been that on Christmas Eve, my family converges on my Aunt Angela’s, which means I also get to see my cousins, who live surprisingly close considering I see them so rarely. On Christmas morning, I’ve gathered with my mother and stepdad, and met up with my sister’s own family and in-laws at their house to experience Christmas morning breakfast and watch the little ones open presents.
This year, I’m glad I got to see my father, who I’m lucky to see once a year or so around this time. I get to give my gift of Wishbone books and movies to my niece, and I’m excited about the other gifts I have to give. Though things are going to be a little different this year (aren’t they always a bit different than we expect?), the most important aspects are still the same: I get to see people that I love, I get to watch their faces up light if I can find the right gift (you have no idea how much I love finding gifts that surprise people and make them smile, because I like to listen when most people aren’t, and I remember). I know it’s not about gifts, for me it’s the joy.
I know the holidays aren’t all smiles, dinners, and joy. Holidays can be difficult too, for a multitude of reasons. I don’t want to go into the particular possibilities; some already know what the difficult part will be, sometimes it happens at random in the moment. Whatever it may be, make sure you take care of yourself. We want to do all we can to make our families happy, (and yes, sometimes it’s because it’s just easier), but it’s also okay to step away, take a moment, ask for what you need to make this time easier on you (any other anxious introvert types?). Do this, and you will be able to better enjoy the moments you have.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, and whether it is alone or in a crowded airport, or around the traditional Christmas tree, whether it’s in a big house or a small apartment, with friends that have become family or with three generations of family around, I wish you the Happiest of Holidays and warmest wishes of love, hope, and cheer.
What is a tradition that you look forward to this time of year?