There is no place like "home" for the holidays. Holidays and "home" just go together. There are songs about it, and we go over the river and through the woods to get there.
This is my sixth Christmas away from "home" and I have come around to a different perspective.
I love my extended family. I love my hometown. These are a given.
But consider this..... those that are "home" for the holidays have a whirlwind of hosting (crazy) relatives, hauling presents, dressing children in itchy clothes, family squables, cooking for crowds or creating "moveable feasts" to contribute to chaotic gatherings. Yes - I have lived all that and it has it's wonderful irreplaceable rewards.
For the last six years, my Christmas events have consisted of bonding with my husband and children. The four of us get a reprieve from school work, spreadsheets, carpool, sports practices, travel, volunteer obligations, conference calls, and even to a fair degree, routine chores (the dog poop can wait!).
Wait for it...... the audible "Aaaahhhhh......."
We hunker down together, turn up the cheesy Christmas music (and sing along with lousy harmony), lay in several days of decadent supplies, and just enjoy being together.
Of course we miss our family and I think wistfully of them all together sharing a boisterous meal, having a mountain of crumpled wrapping paper and total chaos, which I gleefully had hosted in my own home for many years.
But we are far from kith and kid and luckily the four of us (still) truly enjoy each other's company. These few days clarify for me that I am so grateful for the strength and steadfastness of my husband. The adventure and drive of my eldest. The creativity and generousity of my youngest. The unconditional love that they all bear to me. And I know that without these few days of intense attentiveness towards one another, I'd miss the moments that would be lost in the whirlwind.
Peace. Quiet. Love.
That is what the holiday feels like to me.
That is what I think the holiday is supposed to feel like.
I wish you all the best for 2011. And especially a little peace, quiet, and love.