Ghosts of Christmas Past

I am the type of person who embraces change, yet feels uneasy any time something isn’t the same as what I pictured it to be. Over the years, Christmas celebrations have played out in the same general fashion: it is a holiday spread out over two long days in which we see as many family members as humanly possible, and travel from place to place without stopping to really ENJOY the time we have at each stop, as there is always pressure to leave and make it on time to the next get-together.

Each year the same, yet different.

Each year the same, yet different. Note the plaid shirts in the upper right picture (my Dad’s contribution to the Chinese gift exchange one year).

Sisters stay the same through the years, no matter what else changes.

Sisters stay the same through the years, no matter what else changes.

No matter the year, there has always been 4 destinations in mind when planning our Christmas attack: my Dad’s family, my Mom’s family, Jeremy’s Dad’s family, and his Mom’s family (and if we are looking back further than 4 years ago, past boyfriends’ familie’s homes). Recently, the Sparks family has created a tradition of getting together the Saturday before the Christmas week, something that has come to be a beloved event by all. Our family being as large as it is, it is always a challenge to get that many people together in one place at the same time. 3 cheers to us for making happen for the past 3 years! After all, no Christmas season is complete with a full-on Chinese gift exchange war between 60 people, baking and cooking contests, and my Dad’s yearly rummage sale gift wrapped in-what else?- newspaper. Ah, family.

This year I have taken it upon myself to host Christmas Day for my Mom’s family. Since Grandma passed, we have tried to keep everything the “same”, perhaps to make ourselves more comfortable, or to keep her memory alive. But in the past 2 years I have learned that it is never possible for things to remain 100% the way they have always been. I have faced the fact that Grandpa is getting older, and he does not have the energy or ambition to decorate a big house and adorn a large tree with hundreds of ornaments. This year, instead of feeling emotional over the fact that we will not be gathering at Grandpa’s for Christmas Eve, I am excited for a new tradition: hosting Christmas Day for my family. It is a strange feeling, growing from someone who up until recently just went along with whatever the “adults” were doing to someone who sets all the plans in motion. I feel that it is now my turn to be the one to coordinate the food, the festivities, and the one to open up my home for everyone to be together. There will still be plenty of love to go around, no matter where we are on this crazy journey.

Cheers to new traditions.

xo

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