Its that strange time of the year when you need to start planning months in advance: what are you doing and where are you going for the Holidays? For us its a bit strange because its not about trying to decide between his family and mine for the two Holidays but between which brother’s house to go to for Christmas–but that is another story.

We’ve decided we like just staying home for Thanksgiving; we get to hang out together, just the 4 of us and either watch movies, listen to Carols and usually just stay in “pjs” all day. There is no rushing around or packing up to go somewhere. We reflect on the good things of the past year, maybe reflect on things we need to improve on. Its just a quiet time.

Food usually is a big focus at Holidays but my older daughter has been a vegetarian for almost a year now, actually last Thanksgiving was the turning point for her, so we will focus on side dishes for her rather than the “Tofurky roast” she had last year (her request). My husband, younger daughter and I will enjoy a Plainville Farm turkey. (If you have the option go for the Plainville one–it tastes like turkey is supposed to taste and is very much worth paying extra for!)Food is part of the day but not the whole focus. We eat reasonably but well; each dish is thought out and made for enjoyment rather than quantity.

Friday we usually just stay home and relax but Saturday……. we head off to our local tree farm to “tag” our tree so it is saved for us to cut in a couple of weeks time.

I just hope we don’t make the same mistake as last year!

Really, the tree didn’t look that big in the field!#being at home with myself#christmas treeWell as it turns out, the tree stood about 13.5 feet tall and 6 feet wide–it was huge! Thankfully we have a cathedral ceiling and a “Great room” so it did fit without having to trim it down. There was one major issue though–my husband needed to stand on one of our beams to put the star in place!

#being at home with myself#christmas tree

We’re funny about Christmas; its not really about getting the gifts so much as the general Spirit of what it means. We love to listen to music, watch our favorite movies and bake. We love to decorate the house with decorations from past Christmases as well as finding a unique one or two each year.  We have learned that we can not do it all and must prioritize what can reasonably be done without making it a stressful situation rather than one of Joy and Peace. Sometimes the cards get sent out to everyone, sometimes they only get sent out to family.

We’ve really been trying to get away from all the commercial aspect of the Holiday and focus more on the feelings of family and togetherness.  We do still get gifts but as my daughters have gotten older its more about the thought behind the gift rather than the number of things under the tree. I still get their “wish lists” but now its on an internet sight instead of hand written and crossed off and adjusted a bunch of times.  I see more thought put into their choices for each other and many of the ‘requests’ are for long term interests (like books) rather than video games.  Last year I made rag quilts and I cannot express the wonderful feeling I got in return when my mom told me how much she loved it! She understood what it truly meant to have something made just for her; as I was making it I was thinking about her and how much I missed her and not what I could easily pick up and send.

Do we have the “perfect Holiday”? No, far from it. There are still family squabbles and misunderstandings. Sometimes we still long for a different gift or less to do. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have such a big tree to “un-decorate”. Would I want to “Skip Christmas” (like in “Christmas with the Kranks”)?  No, not even remotely. It is something that joins us together as a family and hopefully will for many years, and generations, to come.

What do Holidays mean to you? Traditions, obligations, family? What would you do differently given the choice and options?