It’s finally here! It’s the holiday season and I am beside myself with the joy of the season. This year is the second for my family being back in the same time zone as all of our immediate family and this is the first year that we really have some flexibility. We had a quiet Thanksgiving day here in our home, just our little pod of three, and then spent the weekend with a sampling of those we love. We’ve been communicating and preparing and twittering and giggling and feeling all of the childlike joy we can contain inside ourselves as we prepare for Christmas. At least, that’s how we feel for the most part.
While we lived in Colorado, we had every single holiday ourselves. As we became incredibly close with some people we began inviting them to our celebrations. There were two people who really became family members who attended several. Because they were the “chosen” family, the people you grow to love through similar interests and temperaments, all of the details of those holidays were incredibly easy and drama free. From planning to food to gift giving, it was all fantastically simple. As much as we may have missed family, we relished being away from the tension and drama so many of our friends lamented bearing along with their holidays.
Now that we’re planning our holiday celebrations, we’re discovering that many people are not full of the same joy we are. I’ll admit, Christmas in particular makes me unbelievably naive in my joy and camaraderie. Perhaps part of it was that I was really a child when I was around my family and Husband’s when they planned get togethers in the past, but I’ve been astonished at how complicated it can be. Two families are not really two families- they are our two plus all of the other married families. There are kids who aren’t kids anymore and want to be with people they’ve chosen. There are pets to get home to and little kids deprived of their brand new gifts if not in their own homes for their big day. There are “secret Santa” plans to make and price limits to set and food intolerances and dislikes and allergies and all sorts of minuscule decisions.
Along with all of it, you have all the different feelings that people bring to the table. I’ve told you about my unabashed giddiness. Daughter shares it, but she’s 9 so it’s expected. Husband loves the holidays but for him it is a lot more about the food and naps, though he does get giddy when giving gifts and he tries to hide it. Many of the people I’ve been talking to share this happiness, or at least accept it. Some, though, seem to relish the complicated mess of feelings that this season can bring. They use it as an opportunity for exploitation of the drama they keep just below the surface the rest of the year. It may sound bananas, but it is November and the stress of Christmas has caused the reemergence of a rash I develop only when extremely anxious. I need to channel my inner Elsa and let it all go.
So, to those of you who say, “Don’t worry; we’ll figure something out,” “I can’t wait,” “That’s amazing,””We like you best,” and “You’re welcome any time,” I say a mighty and heartfelt thank you. I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to let the yuck be in the past. I can’t wait to wake up on the morning of Christmas and see Daughter’s face with you. I can’t wait to see my mother with Daughter on Christmas for the first time ever. I can’t wait to have second Christmas with you. I can’t wait for my new traditions with my married family that I didn’t really know and had no idea I loved so much. I just can’t wait.