Holiday Blues

Call me a Grinch (if you must), but I’m just not feeling Christmas this year. If you look around our apartment, you’ll notice that it’s barren of any kind of holiday displays: a Christmas tree, wrapped gifts, festive decor, treats and other baked goods—we just haven’t gotten around to it.

Part of it is because of John’s insane work schedule as of late, and the other part is that we recently returned from our honeymoon. But aside from those factors, my whole attitude towards Christmas has changed and has been changing with every year that passes by.

To me, it’s starting to feel like a frivolous occasion.  The presents, the lights, the music—I just don’t have the patience for it, or at least not in the same way I once did. And since I’m not very religious, Christmas doesn’t hold that kind of value for me either.

Until a week ago, I was pretty jaded to the idea of yet another Christmas, but then, something changed.

My Mom invited us over to decorate Christmas cookies (a tradition that has continued since I was a kid). On an otherwise regular Sunday afternoon, I sat around my parents’ kitchen table, watching the sheer joy appear on the faces of my niece and nephew as they squeezed icing and tossed sprinkles onto their cookies.

Then I thought to myself, this is what Christmas is about about: family. And more importantly, it’s about the kids. I think of all my special childhood Christmas memories and realize how important it is to pass on some of those traditions to the new generation of little ones in my life.

I am now an Auntie (four times over), and I think it’s my job to ensure my niece and nephews have the same kind of wonderful Christmas memories I had when I was younger. Whether it’s singing carols with grandparents, decorating Christmas cookies, or waking up super early on Christmas morning to sift through a massive mountain of unwrapped toys and games from Santa—just some of the things I can remember—I want them to experience that too.

In light of a recent tragedy (that we all know about)  involving far too many innocent children and several brave adults, I’m holding on to the hands of my family, including the kids, just a little bit tighter. And in spite of the holiday blues, I know it’s important to keep my spirits up for them.

Merry Christmas everyone! To you and your families 🙂

Gingerbread cookies

Home

I absolutely despise red-eye flights. They throw off your sleep schedule, lower your immune system and essentially make you feel terrible for about three days to follow. Unfortunately, this past Wednesday, I had to take one on the way back from a wonderful and relaxing honeymoon in Hawaii.

Evidently, I couldn’t sleep, so I had plenty of time on that flight to just sit and reflect. And the clearest thought that came to mind? Just how much I wanted to go home.

Then, I got to thinking, what is the definition of home? To me, it isn’t necessarily the place you were born and raised, but rather the place that makes you feel most comfortable. Personally, I think you can create your home, wherever you are.

For the past two weeks, my home has been Hawaii. It’s the familiar surroundings, the pleasantly warm weather and the friendly faces that make it such a comforting place to be. In fact, thanks to my dear Aunt and the connections she’s built there over the years, I would now consider Hawaii my official second home.

But it’s not the only place I have referred to as home. I seem to throw around that term pretty often, catching myself saying, “let’s go home,” whether it be to a tent on the ground after a long day at the lake, a hotel room after hours of site-seeing in a foreign county or a sketchy hostel bed once I’ve spent my day perusing the streets of a big city.

Aside from the physical location itself, my home has always been defined by the people I share it with. This can be family, friends or acquaintances I’ve met over the years. When I pack up and go somewhere, I typically do it with someone. On a side note, I have a HUGE amount of respect for those in my life who have decided to leave their comfort zones and create new homes, entirely on their own (you know who you are).

So to close, I would like to ask all of you: where is your current home, and what special attributes make that particular place, community or environment “home”?

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