Each Christmas we spend time with three out of four sets of parents that live locally and we see a few extended family celebrations too. I’ll dive into all of that in a minute, but first a little grief glimpse.
This Christmas was the first one without my brother that I could remember. In preparation, I read devotions on grief and ‘surviving the holidays without your loved one’ type articles. Each one echoed the same thing, “Take care of yourself, do what feels most comfortable for you.” It sounded like a pretty selfish message to me. But the family, friends and counselor I ran the idea past all agreed it was good advice.
One post in particular talked about how some people like to throw themselves back into the same family traditions and remember the joy they had in those traditions with their loved one. And some need a mellower holiday with space for quiet and solitude.
I shared these thoughts with Andy and told him I felt more comfortable with the quiet and solitude. We have also been trying to reduce the “hurry” in our lives lately and decided to do one family event per day. We hoped to not stress ourselves out like we have in years past, often arriving at the next family event wiped out from the one before.
It turned out to be one of the best ideas we’ve ever had. The time with family wasn’t rushed, it was fun.
The Lewis family kids chose their own Uncle to play Santa this year (he was offered $1 for his service) and we enjoyed visiting with each family. We played Cranium with cousin Georgia and caught up with the Haislet families. We made ninja cookies with our nephews and enjoyed the McKown Christmas.
We watched Charlotte unwrap a present and excitedly shout, “Newspaper!” before realizing there was a gift underneath it at the Mills/Harris Christmas. The Mills Christmas is being rescheduled due to the flu but that will be fun too (bowling this year!). We missed the McKown extended family Christmas in Chicago. But we did get to see most everyone there over the summer when we celebrated my Father-in-law’s 65th birthday.
It seems like a lot when it’s written out like this, but Christmas really was nice and not overwhelming. There was plenty of space between each get together and the time with our loved ones was sweet.
I’m grateful for each person we get to call family.