Christmas and the holidays are a time for family. I think everyday should be a time for family, but it gets tough to have everybody – grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, kids, second cousins, friends – over for dinner every night of the week. This is why we celebrate holidays. Sure Christmas has a historical meaning, sweet baby Jesus was born on this day, but it’s so much more than that. Hell, not everyone who celebrates Christmas believes in Jesus anyway. Christmas is recognized as a time to celebrate the love you have for those around you. It may be the only time throughout the year when everyone can gather together around the same table and enjoy each other, cheesy potatoes, turkey, and grandma’s pirogies (they are the best).
Unfortunately, I was unable to spend Christmas with my family this year. My family is the family that gets together for birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, summer vacations, multiple Christmases, baseball games, Saturday nights, Cousin Conventions, fishing trips, and any other event we can come up with. As you know, my cousin just had a baby, Annie, who I would really like to meet. I would love to give my cousin a big hug and tell her she is going to be the best mom in the world. I missed the laughter, the hugs and kisses, the visit from Santa Claus, the food, spending time with my grandparents, the annual watching of “Piranha”, the secret Santa gift exchange, pulling each other’s hair in church, washing dishes, laying by the fire, letting my dog eat all the wrapping paper his heart desires, making my dad and brother try on their new outfits, and did I mention the food? This is the second Christmas I did not get to spend with my family. I thought this year would be easier, but it hasn’t been.
There are always things that make being away from your family just a little easier. You make the people around you your family. Together you all eat an untraditional feast of breakfast for dinner even though you still, as tradition goes, stuff your face until your plate is empty. You finagle the old 2 for 1 deal at the cinema and see “Les Misérables” in IMAX where the person you’re with doesn’t fall asleep during the 2.5 hour musical! On a side note, go see “Les Misérables”. You will love it if you are a musical fan and you will appreciate and actually like it even if you’re not. “This is 40” is worth seeing as well. Another way to make Christmas feel like Christmas when you are away from home and family is to play Santa Claus. Make stockings full of goodies for your friends. They will love the surprise when they open their doors in the morning, and you will feel the joy that comes with making some one smile. Tell strangers “Merry Christmas”. It makes them smile too and forces you to smile back. Always remember to tell those you love that you love them, even if they are far away.
It’s a big deal, maybe even bigger than some of you will ever know, for me to miss Christmas, but I did what I could you make this year special. I hope your Christmas was a special one too. Thank you to those that spent time with me. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.