This weekend I put up my Christmas tree. That means the main window in my house will be obstructed until at least the middle of January. Great.
I could honestly do without Christmas trees or other decorations. But I do it because it means a lot to my kids. And I remember how magical and exciting holidays felt when I was younger.
Holidays are so much different now than they were when I was a kid.
I remember when my whole family used to gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. My mom would cook. My siblings, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and grandparents would come over. The adults would talk – and often argue. And the kids would play, and try to convince our parents to let us stay the night at one of our houses.
But things aren’t like that now. My kids have many cousins that they don’t even know or haven’t met. There are no sleepovers. And family gatherings are now divided amongst immediate families.
I have no shame admitting that my family isn’t exactly functional. But one thing that seemed to destroy the little bit of function we did have was the death of my grandmother when I was 11.
You never realize just how important the matriarch of the family is until she isn’t there anymore. I didn’t know my grandma was the glue holding us all together until we all fell apart after she passed away.
But my kids have helped put meaning back into the holiday season.
There’s something so pure about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. It’s as if everything is new and you get a chance to do things over.
Without them I wouldn’t bother putting up a Christmas tree. There would be no trick or treating on Halloween. No Easter egg hunts set up around the house.
Our family has been able to shape our own traditions.
My kids have changed my life for the better in so many ways. And rebuilding that sense of family after the life fracturing loss of my grandmother is a big one.
And I feel so blessed to have a second chance to shape the holidays.
What motivates you through the long holiday season?