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Christmas Traditions

For all of the holidays Richard and I have spent together, this past Thanksgiving (and now Christmas) have really seemed like the first.* I think a huge part of it is finally being in our own home and getting to prepare together. However, I think the larger part is that we are starting to make our own traditions.

This year, I loved opening presents a little each week of advent and just saving Christmas day to relax and enjoy each others' company. I loved hosting neighbors for our prime rib feast on Christmas day, connecting with the family on video chat, and going to candlelight services on Christmas Eve. But most of all, I loved how Christmas felt like Christmas again.

In the hustle and bustle of moving or coordinating sharing a kitchen with roommates or making plans to split time between "mine" and "his" traditions, it stopped feeling like Christmas. That feeling in your heart like you want to laugh or cry - and maybe you do - because you are just so happy you could burst; that is what was missing. This year, instead of being relieved that the stress is over, I am just looking forward to seeing my house back in order. It's like this holiday season was the launching point for the rest of our lives.

I had my first Christmas Eve since I could eat real food without seafood this year. It was startling to me both that it happened (unexpectedly), and that it did not ruin the day. While I don't intend to turn my back on family traditions, there is some peace in knowing that I'm less attached to the act than to the people I am with.

As a note, not everything went swimmingly (because it seems like I'm bragging a bit!, and it wouldn't be a holiday with me without some calamity): the chocolate pie got left until much too late and didn't set, so it was like a weird pudding with crust; the smoke alarms started going off just after our company arrived and they all had to be disconnected because we couldn't cool the house down with the roast in the oven; the dog had three accidents in the house and has so far eaten a dozen snickerdoodles and a full loaf of italian bread off of the counter; and I got the wrong size pajamas for RJ to wear on Christmas so he had to wear pajamas from last year (or more?).

For all that, the things I'll remember are: the generosity of my husband to me and to perfect strangers, the kindness of neighbors who forgave our dog biting their four year old in the face four days before Christmas, and the love and warmth that it feels like to feel like a family (and not be the kid or niece, etc.).

It's still Christmas for a few more days and even as I take down the decorations a little earlier than Epiphany, I know it's going to feel like Christmas in our house for a long time yet.

Here's to wishing you and yours a fabulous Christmas season.

Love always, ~Heather

*The only exception being the 4th of July which is always special to us. First time meeting his mother, getting engaged, celebrating with my parents, and this year on the roof at the theater ... have we really been together 4 Fourth of July's?!?