Time for the tinsel

Christmas tree

Is there anything lovelier than a home at Christmas?

I love this time of year because, you know, our home has insta-style. And that style is holiday. Decorating is still a somewhat daunting task for me, so our house has many bare walls — but when you truss them up with sparkly garland, evergreens and jolly Santa figurines, you’ve really got something goin’ on.

And oh, it’s going.

I’ll be honest: Christmastime is still a little bittersweet for me. Despite the fact that I am happily married and expecting, part of me longs to be back with my mom, dad and sister doing all our old-timey holiday traditions. Last year? Kind of sad. Not because I wasn’t thrilled to be spending it with Spencer in our own place, our first married Christmas, but because . . . well, because it was different.

Different can be hard.

This December, I’m determined to be perky! and excited! and not stressed!, which has meant getting organized earlier (I have spreadsheets!) and starting to wrap gifts before it becomes an intimidating task that results in lots of gift bags and frustration. Fun fact? I actually love wrapping presents with all the bells and whistles, but I tend to wait too long to complete the task. I don’t want to be freaking out on Christmas Eve, you know?

Not. Doing. It.

You know how, when you’re a kid, the holidays are a theatrical production put on by Santa, elves and your parents — an event in which you’re simply expected to delight in the fruits of others’ labor and absolutely nothing is expected of you?

Adulthood is . . . not like that.

At nearly 30, I should have accepted that responsibility was coming down the pipeline. Speaking of which, I think hosting our first Thanksgiving was a resounding success. Did I panic a little at the thought of arriving at our house for the annual feast? Sure. Yes. Absolutely. But I had tons of help, Spence made the turkey and ham, my mother-in-law was an excellent help in the kitchen — and ultimately, our family chipped in big time . . . just as they always do. It was a grand time.

But now it’s the holidays and Christmas is shaking its sparkly stick at me, demanding attention. The pressure to contribute to the family holiday, come up with amazing gift ideas and somehow manage to spend time with everyone in a meaningful way is . . . difficult. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, friends; this is something we all coordinate, something we must all work out for ourselves.

And I’m getting there.

Our calendar is brimming with fun, festive events in the next three weeks (!!) — and even though I have plenty of shopping and scheming left to complete by December 25, I know that’s not what Christmas is really about.

It’s laughs and meals with family.
Crunchy sugar cookies.
“Charlie Brown” and hearing the angels sing.
Cinnamon rolls in pajamas.
Fat stacks of colorful cards in the mailbox.

And so much more. So, so much more.

As this is our last holiday without a little one, too, I’m determined to make it a happy and memorable one for our family of two. More than anything? I just want to adorn it all with sparkly tinsel, sip hot chocolate and watch cheesy Hallmark movies. You know the ones.

And I’m going to get there.

Extra cinnamon rolls may be necessary . . . but I’ve made my peace with it.

A sticky, delicious, gooey peace.


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16 thoughts on “Time for the tinsel

  1. We had our first holiday living on our own last year, too. Of course we still spent tons of time at my parent’s house, but it felt weird not waking up there on Christmas morning! It can be tough to make new traditions, but I think it will be worth it! Your tree looks so nice! Ours is a skinny little thing, one step up from the Charlie Brown tree. 🙂

  2. Just wait Meg and Spencer till your little one is old enough to understand and you will again see Christmas through the eyes of a small child but you will be the ones making the magic happen 😄. Wish you all the best and much love for your last Christmas together as just the two of you xox

  3. Thanks for this post! It’s my motivation to get my butt in gear and just do the Christmas decorating that my hubby has been bugging me for. This is going to be my first Christmas full of change including making the turkey at my own house instead of enjoying my mother’s culinary creation. But I’m going to take your lead and also try to leave the hard part of change out of my mind and put on a positive smile and enjoy making some new traditions. Also, congratulations on the pregnancy!

  4. It’s been quite a while since that first year I had Christmas away from my family and I STILL remember the bittersweet feelings. But you’re making your own Christmas traditions and that is such a grand thing too!

  5. Thanks for the post, it has inspired me to start decorating and enjoy this Christmas season. This year will be first Christmas my husband and I spend together as a married couple. I also have that bitter sweet feeling. Moved from South Africa to Switzerland with my husband earlier this year so Christmas her will be a very different experience. Hope you enjoy this wonderful season.

  6. Before you know it, you are going to find spending the holidays elsewhere other than at home surrounded by your children odd and slightly uncomfortable. Going back home is never quite the same once grandkids are in the picture, as it should be. That just means you get the absolute pleasure of creating your own fantastic traditions for your own children that will make them feel sad when they eventually leave the house. Enjoy building each one of those memories because they are absolutely priceless!

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