Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time when people are merry and lights twinkle late into the night. It’s a time to celebrate and get together with the ones you love. It’s a time to get dressed up and paint your nails sparkly colors and craft until you can’t craft anymore. And it’s a time to eat sugar for lunch and for dinner. (And maybe a few breakfasts, too. Oh my god I am so full of sugar.)
But I feel like I need to write this post. I have a few other Christmas posts in my head – happy, cheery, sugar coated Christmas posts – but I’ve also started this one a couple of times over. Maybe I just have to get it out of the way.
Christmas is hard when you are 3000 miles from home.
Don’t at all feel sorry for me. (Mom, I’m looking at you. No tears.) I am fine. I’m sucking it up and being an adult and I’m not complaining. Christmas is really for the children, right? But living in the land of misfits (LA), there are a lot of people who are 3000 miles from home. Some much, much further away. And as good of a game face as we are all putting on, picking up extra shifts and wishing “Happy Holidays” to our friends as we drop them off at LAX, I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who’s cracking a little.
Brad and I are making the most of this holiday season. We bought a beautiful tree at a Christmas tree lot by the beach. We’ve wrapped presents. We’ve worked hard on our gifts for family that will hopefully get there in time for Christmas parties. We have received packages from back home and cards from family and friends who haven’t forgotten about us.
New traditions will be created this year. Old traditions might be put off until next year. It may be a really quiet Christmas around the Mathews household, but I’m not too worried about it. There will be a delicious dinner on the table that night and there will be a lot of love and FaceTime calls to catch up with all those far, far away.
I guess this post is more to the people I know who are here, facing the creation of their own new traditions and maybe not getting to participate in their beloved old ones. To the people who are putting on that game face and trying to be strong, we’re all feeling it. Christmas magnifies all of those lonely, homesick feelings. It magnifies the stories other people are telling you of their perfect family get togethers and their perfect 14 day vacations.
And, well, this year that just ain’t gonna happen.
So reach out to someone else who it isn’t happening for. Heck, reach out to me! And find a way to make the day more like the day you want it to be. If you love having a big Christmas dinner, make one and invite people over! If you’re like me and you love hearing the story of Christmas and singing the joyful songs, go to church! (I actually might do this. Have to find one they won’t kick me out of.) If you love giving something to people to make them smile, volunteer! Find something to make your holiday soul feel complete.
Make your holiday merry, and know that you aren’t alone out here or out there. Next year will be different, as will the year after that and the year after that. Christmas happens all over the world in all kinds of different ways. Maybe this is just your year to try out a new way of celebrating to see if there is something new to work into your classic holiday celebrations.
Merry Christmas to all, wherever you are.
I think about this more and more as I get older and put more time and energy into my Burlington world… It’s nice to know it’s doable and even enjoyable from places that aren’t the family home.
P.S. I will sign Al up for that FaceTime list right now… This one won’t be a butt dial!