Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Time flies when you're home for the holidays! It's so rare that we get to spend our most precious holidays with family and friends, so we're trying to make the most of it. After all, by this time next year, we'll be abroad again.

It's been really fun to celebrate baby S's first Christmas, though he's too young to appreciate our annual traditions. At the same time, certain things just make the season feel right and I'm sure I'll indoctrinate him soon enough. For example, I like to put up a Christmas tree and start playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and go all in on the Christmas spirit until New Year's. That's just how it was in my family growing up, so I've carried that on in my own home. As an adult, I also somehow gravitated towards a specific jam thumbprint sugar cookie recipe with white chocolate drizzle that has become my go-to recipe for cookie exchanges. (And I always participate in at least one cookie exchange.)

My sister C and her husband even visited Virginia from Colorado, and we spent a weekend at Massanutten Resort that went by way too fast. Unfortunately, they had to cancel a lot of the outdoor activities due to the uncooperative weather. But we still enjoyed our time together, got a spa day out of it, and took S to his first-ever escape room. We all love games and puzzles, so it was a blast.

I also visited the DC Temple's Festival of Lights, an event my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS church) hosts every December with beautiful lights, free concerts every night, and a display of nativities from around the world. (The first photo in this post is of the Temple.) This was also the first year I've ever seen with a Giving Machine, which is like a vending machine for charity. I'd heard of these and watched videos about them online, but it was my first time seeing one in person and using it.

Being home also gave me the chance to participate in a time-honored tradition I haven't been able to do for years while overseas: making a live Christmas wreath! The women's organization of my congregation started this Christmastime activity years ago and it's expanded more and more over time to a multi-night production. This year I made three wreaths: one for me and one each for two friends of mine who just had babies and couldn't make it. I love the opportunity to exercise my creative muscles and make something imperfect but beautiful. They also had a dirty soda bar at the event this year, which was a huge hit.

Memories like these are part of what makes our holiday season so special for my family. (I've tried to make a conscious effort to acknowledge that although this is my holiday season, it is not the holiday season for everyone. Someone at work even pointed out I had made that assumption when I referred to this time as "the holidays" - and they were right! So I'm trying to be more aware going forward, especially for those who find this time of year isolating.) We're excited to be home this year and celebrate with so many of the people we love most. And I would argue that knowing we won't have that every year helps us appreciate it even more when we do.

No comments:

Post a Comment