With Christmas less than a week away, I’ve been enjoying spending quality time with my close friends and family. To me, and to many others, that’s really what the root of Christmas is about- bonding with the ones I love and cherish the most. Today I’m going to be telling you guys a little bit about my holiday traditions, what I look forward to the most, and how Christmas has changed for me over the years.
Particularly since my parents divorced a few years ago, my Christmas traditions have definitely shifted a bit over time. I remember when I was really little, up until around high school or so, my parents would always host a Christmas party at our house. It was one of the only nights of the year I would see my ENTIRE family, and I’m talking all sets of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Additionally, my great-grandmother was still alive at that time, so I remember bonding with her as well. It was always a memorable night, and especially being a child, I still had those magical, delightful butterflies in my stomach that Santa Claus was going to come that night. I also remember that my father would show me this website where you could “track Santa” and see “where he was in the world,” which was fascinating to me as a little girl. I loved those holiday parties, and I remember the smell of kielbasa, meatballs, pine trees, cheesy dip, and the sound of laughter and music wafting through our house.
Anyway, I’ve grown up quite a bit since then, and the Christmas festivities are on a much smaller scale now. Like I said, my parents got divorced about three and a half years ago, and I’ve also grown out of my extended family a bit now that we’ve all drifted apart. I’m sure many Gen X’ers and Millennials understand my tendency to disconnect from extended family, especially as a forward-thinking, queer youth in a polarized country.
I’m also estranged from my father, and I don’t feel anything towards my brother, so I don’t have either of them in my life as well. Last year, before I was estranged, I would spend Christmas Eve with my mother at our apartment, and Christmas Day with my father at my old house. This year, obviously, I’m going to spending both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my mother and our little family with the dogs. There isn’t going to be a party or anything like that, but honestly, I like it better the way things are now. We really are able to focus or attention on spending organic, quality time together, rather than fretting and stressing out about a giant holiday event. It’s much more calm, curated, and focused on family, and I love it that way.
Our apartment is tiny, and we don’t have an actual Christmas tree, but we decorate my mom’s tiny “tropical” tree with lights and tiny bulbs. We also love to burn winter candles, and of course, we love our Christmas music! My mom and I also love a good baking challenge, and we’ve already made so many delicious goodies this holiday season. She likes to make cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or sometimes, she’ll make this delicious cheesy egg casserole. I’m going to upload some sort of a cooking-themed article with my mom in mid January, so keep your eyes out for that. What kind of recipe would you like to see us make? Let me know in the comments!
Sometimes, every couple of years or so, my family and I visit the Christmas parade in our downtown. It’s a nice place to connect with neighbors and friends from high school whom I haven’t seen in awhile, so I enjoy the community feel of that event. I didn’t have a chance to go this year, because I was at school while it happened, but there’s always next year!
Moving onto gift giving; I didn’t spend a lot this holiday season because I don’t have much money to throw around, but I did get gifts for my mom, my stepdad, Eli, and the dogs. I love buying gifts for people, because it requires a lot of organization, and I love organizing surprises for people. It just makes me feel so happy and fuzzy inside! I can’t say much about what I got my family quite yet, because they’re probably reading this, but I’ll tell you more about that after Christmas passes.
Anyway, that’s a peek into what Christmas is like for me. As you can see, it changes a bit every year, but spending time with my family and being grateful is at the root of everything. I’m really looking forward to spending time with my friends and family, and also, catching up on some much-needed rest after a very busy semester. Happy holidays, everyone!