I know the holidays bring many emotions, and I am guilty of feeling them all. I get so excited to see my family and friends, and I get just as thrilled to hang with my kids for winter break. For my family, holidays are about the people we love.
When I was little, our favorite thing to do was to go to my grandparents’ house for Christmas. Grandma’s food always tasted better than regular food, my grandpa’s laugh was one that echoed throughout the halls, and my aunts and uncles were the funniest people around. My sister and I would be filled with anticipation on Christmas Eve, because we were able to see our relatives and open presents on the same night. Both sides of my extended family have come together each Christmas Eve to catch up and relax in the glow of the tree. It’s nights like these that I feel the warmth and the energy of the ones who helped raise me.
With each new Christmas, I watch my children look forward to some of the same traditions I did as a child. They, too, wait for the moment when all of our family is in one room, breaking bread and giving updates of our lives. Each Christmas, I watch as my children giggle in the same anticipation I had at their age. I know how excited they are for the evening of family and giving. When I was a child, I didn’t think the holidays could get any better than they were, and then I had my own children, who helped me redefine happiness.
I am a teacher, so holidays are a great time for me to catch up with my friends and family. We travel near and far to see friends and have play dates for young and old. During the days we are at home, my kids and I reconnect. We have no homework or grading to do, so we bake, play, read, sled, and laugh. My husband enjoys that I’m a less stressed version of myself, and I get to take the time to relax with my favorite people. In addition to my family, I have a group of friends who stay connected. Most of us survived college together, and we have all developed some pretty awesome families. There is nothing like watching our children as they play together and laughing until our cheeks hurt like the good ol’ days. The holidays provide us the time to connect with each other on many levels, and I sure do love the kids my friends have brought into the world.
Holidays of the Past
Part of the emotions that ebb and flow for me during winter break include missing the loved ones who have passed on. My paternal grandmother had a way of making every Christmas magical. She made a dessert to die for; she schooled many of us in cards; and her laugh is something I can still hear. My maternal grandpa put too much pepper on Christmas dinner; made the best Donald Duck sound for my kids and me; and sat at the head of the table each Christmas leading the prayer. Although we’ve lost loved ones along the way, we are better for having them as part of our lives. They give us history. They put us on the map. We are forever blessed for having their influence in our lives.
Whether we are surrounded by mountains, plains, or waves, it’s the people that define the holidays for my family. No matter where we are together, we are home.