I’m a bit sad that Thanksgiving has come and gone. It’s one of my favorite holidays. What’s not to love? An abundance of delicious, butter-laden food, pumpkin pie, flowing wine, parades, football, togetherness and that crazy aunt (or in my case, uncle) who just says the MOST absurd things. It’s a warm and fuzzy holiday to me, and it kicks off alllll of the festiveness that is the holiday season. Seriously, five stars. Highly recommended!
For me, the holidays have always been a bit of a scramble. While that sounds like a bad thing, I’ve actually come to embrace the chaos. My parents were divorced when I was a child, so holidays were often a mad dash, split between one house and next. Thanksgiving dinner at one and dessert at another, or Thanksgiving on another day altogether. On Christmas, I’d go to church on Christmas Eve with my mom, open presents at her house until noon on Christmas Day, and then head to my dad’s house for gift opening before racing to my aunt’s house for Christmas dinner. As a kid, I didn’t love the hustling. Sure, I liked being a part of so many celebrations, but I remember feeling rushed and out of sorts. I envied my younger brother who got to stay in his pajamas, play with his new things and watch Christmas movies all day.
As an adult, holidays are even more complicated. I too am now divorced, and my kids are a part of the same holiday frenzy that I experienced as a child. While it is certainly not the scenario I would have chosen in an ideal world for them, we make it work (although it’s not easy to coordinate). My family is wonderful and gracious, and very flexible about celebrating holidays whenever my kids are together. The silver lining is that all of our holidays stretch beyond the actual holiday day itself. Our Thanksgiving was a few days long this year – we ventured to the parade in the city on Thanksgiving morning, before my kids left for dinner elsewhere. We gobbled our turkey on Saturday instead, when we were all reunited. Last year, we caught an early church service on Christmas Eve, left our cookies for Santa and then pressed “pause” – our “Christmas morning” together was on the 26th instead of the 25th. So, while everyone else was staring at the piles under the tree and pondering the clean-up of the holiday aftermath, we were just settling in with our cinnamon rolls, coffee, Christmas pajamas and present laden tree.
I also find that because we aren’t always together, the holiday season lends a special opportunity to really spend time intentionally when we are. My girlfriends roll their eyes at me (lovingly) when it comes to festive fun, because I’m the queen of it for any given season or holiday. Pumpkin patch? Heck yes. Hayrides? Sign us up. Gingerbread turkey cookie decorating? Obviously. Tree lightings? We’ll be there. Ice skating in the city? We’ll bundle! Driving around with hot cocoa for Christmas light oo-ing and ah-ing? You bet. Even though I’m already a “festive” enthusiast, making the moments and memories with my kids during the holiday season is extra special, because we’re together. And we aren’t always, and that’s the hardest part of this season (and every other) for me.
So, while our celebrating is untraditional and on a schedule that is different than everyone else’s, it has its charm. And, in this season of thanks, gratefulness, giving and merriment, I too am overwhelmingly grateful, chaos and crazy-calendar and all.