It’s been some time since I’ve actually just written about life on my blog. That’s what I had intended it to be about when I started, so I’m making a bit more effort in 2019 to re-focus that (and honestly, limit my life on Instagram).
As Christmas approaches I am feeling not only nostalgic but somewhat sad, as there will be many “lasts” in our family that loves tradition.
For the past 31 years of my life, my parents have hosted Christmas. This is their last year, as they are retiring and becoming snowbirds. They purchased a home in Arizona and will be living there the majority of the year. Now, I know what you’re thinking (because most people have said this to me), “Somewhere warm for Christmas! So cool!” Yes, I will be the first to admit a warmer climate for Christmas sounds lovely. However, this change ends a 31+ year tradition, and all I’ve known for my entire life. I normally adapt to change decently well, but this time, not so much.
Christmas Eve is special to me. I am Italian, so we typically begin the celebration by going to Catholic mass. I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but if they do one thing right, it is Christmas church services. After church, we have a big Italian meal with lasagna, sweet Italian sausage, salad, garlic bread, and WINE. Of course. 😉 I don’t think I’ve had one Christmas Eve where I didn’t have this meal. It’s comforting. It’s tradition.
We’d typically unwrap gifts after dinner, but as kids got older and buying gifts became more expensive, we opted for a new tradition, the dice game! There are piles of presents in the middle of the floor (cheap things like candy, toilet paper, kleenex, and notebooks), and we battle it out while stealing each other’s gifts. It was a fun change of pace and I look forward to it each year. The pressure of gift giving went away with this game, and we often get things we actually need!
Dessert would finish off the night and typically includes some sort of drink with Bailey’s ;), snowman shaped ice cream, creme de menthe cake (linked a recipe because it’s heaven), and loads of cookies. I typically am in some sort of sugar coma afterwards. The next day we would all bundle up and wander down to visit the Bentleyville light display. I’ve been there every year since it opened.
One thing I’ve noticed as I reflect back on these traditions, is that it was simple and centered around family. Next year will look different, and perhaps it’s my husband and I’s turn to take on a new tradition, but it’s still been difficult to process. My parents who’ve never been more than a car-ride away will now be a long plane ride away. I guess this also means that visiting my beautiful hometown will get even more distant than it already has. I remember being so excited to move away, and the older I get, the more I miss the beautiful Lake Superior and the easiness of that city. I think more than anything, this is the piece I am struggling with. I can re-create tradition, but the change happening with family being placed all over the country is hard for me. It’s a big reason why I haven’t left Minnesota.
I haven’t come to many conclusions yet about this change other than to try to embrace it and enjoy this last holiday and all the traditions I’ve grown to love. I’m realizing that sometimes it’s ok to stay on the same chapter for as long as you need to, but eventually, that chapter will end.