I take the phrase “home for the holidays” literally. I stay at home on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. I have wonderful, generous friends, and family who always extend invitations to join them in their festivities, but on holidays I want be with my own little furry family. Sentimental? Silly? After all, the dogs don’t know it’s a holiday, right? Right! Of course they don’t know, but I do.
As I’ve mentioned several times, I have an amazing family. Like most families, we grew up with holiday traditions. We all have fond holiday memories, and funny stories to share. Over the years, as people married, and had children, as would be expected, new traditions were established. My siblings now have their own families to celebrate with. During my former life as a married person, we moved around a lot, and often lived far away from family, so I too developed new traditions.
When I moved back to the Chicago area in 2012, alone for the first time in my life, I’ll admit, the holidays were kind of hard. Partly because long long ago, in a land far away…I had gotten engaged in December, and married the following December. That kind of ties a lot of additional memories to Christmas time.
That first holiday season back home, my always wonderful family invited me to share in their Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. I joined them, but I found that seeing my family carrying on their traditions just reminded me of what I no longer had. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it just was what it was. Add to that the fact I’ve always been a bit of a chicken driving in winter weather, and my family is an hour’s drive away, plus my eyes aren’t what they used to be now that I’m a bit older, so night driving is tricky as well. All in all, I found that I couldn’t wait to get home to be with the dogs, and stay there.
The next year, I decided to try staying home with my own little furry family during the holidays, and it was AWESOME! I invited a few single friends for Thanksgiving since I enjoy cooking. The following week, I blasted Christmas music through the house, and tortured the poor dogs with my off key singing while I put up my Christmas decorations. I baked, shopped on-line, and played in the snow with the dogs. I was creating new traditions without even trying, and had the unexpected added bonus of beginning to glimpse some of the same magical feelings I remembered as a child during this time of year. Feelings that I thought were long gone.
Nowadays, my family graciously accepts (maybe with a bit of an eye-roll) that I prefer to be at home with the dogs on the holidays. They make it clear that if I ever decide I want to join them, I am welcome, which is a gift in and of itself.