I have not been in my parent’s home for Christmas since 2005. That makes me sad. It really does. I have not even been in California for Christmas since 2007. When my husband and I got married we thought we would spend every other Christmas with each family. That was when my parents were only nine hours away and his were 10 minutes away. Christmas wasn’t one of those things I thought much about when we moved away from California.
Every year, for the past 7-8 years we have spent Christmas in our own house. It’s been quiet, refreshing and quite nice. But…there is still a part of me that wishes it could be different.
I wish that we could all get ready to go to the airport, get on a plane and land in Orange County to spend our Christmas break there. To see family, go to a Christmas Eve service together, put my children to bed with dreams of Santa in the same room I used to sleep in, get together with friends who are also visiting from out-of-town, open presents as a big family instead of having to send them or just to be together during the holidays.
When I was growing up we would spend Christmas in our house or at my Grandparent’s house and my aunt and uncle would be there too. That was nice, it was fun to be with family, watch my Grandpa take his time with his gifts, eat a big family Christmas dinner and make Christmas cookies with my Grandma.
It’s hard to be away from family. It’s even harder during Christmas. If only we made a little more money, if only tickets were not so expensive, if only we actually lived in California too and at most had to ride in a car for a few days.
This isn’t my reality right now and I know that. I will cherish our quiet Christmas this year. Where we don’t have to go anywhere, no rushing around. Where my kids will wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning. Where I can make a small meal and enjoy that time with my little family of five. Someday we will be able to join our families for Christmas. We will either be able to fly out to see them or live right there too.
If you feel sad this week because you can’t go home for Christmas either, I can totally relate. Whether it is because you are stationed too far from home and it is just not going to work to go this year, whether you or your spouse can’t get off work or whether you don’t have a good relationship with your family so that going home will just make life a little harder.
While it seems like everyone is hoping on a plane for home, that isn’t true. So many people are missing someone this year. All we can do is make the best of what we have and enjoy a smaller Christmas this year. We can still make a lot of memories with our own little families, visit with friends and enjoy something new that we might not be able to if we went home.
As the song says, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams…”