home for christmas

it’s the little things.

we don’t need the list of who gets to hang the special ornament or put the angel on the tree anymore.

we don’t check the little red ornament for the hershey kiss, knowing that it won’t be there.

we don’t watch our dad open yet another pack of tube socks and underwear while exclaiming, “socks and undies! just what i always wanted!”

we don’t watch our mom giggle anxiously to see if she finally got dad the right beard trimmer.

we don’t listen to “john denver & the muppets” while decorating the tree.

it’s the little things.

even at 30 years old, it’s hard to forget the traditions you’ve had for most of your life. it’s hard to stumble through the holidays successfully when so many things have changed. i’ve been thinking a lot lately about traditions. thinking about when something major happens to upset the little things. and i’m always thinking about change.

some change you expect. you expect to grow up, you expect your taste in clothing and movies to change with age. but those changes are gradual and you don’t really notice a difference until you look back at your middle school photos and are horrified by that crazy silk shirt and huge neon scrunchie you rocked in the 90’s.

some change you are able to prepare for, like college or starting a new job, buying a house. you plan for those things. you make arrangements, you adjust daily life or spending to accommodate those changes.

but the most uncomfortable kind of change is the one that happens fast, without warning, and forces you to leave behind important things, people, memories. sudden changes often force you to adapt in painful ways. because the longer you do something, the harder it is to let go. that’s why traditions are so easily started, but so difficult to let go of.

it’s accurate to say that the change i hate the most is the change that i don’t see coming, the kind i can’t control. i think that would resonate with a lot of people. the kind of change that hurts the most is the kind you don’t plan on, the kind you don’t choose.

so here i sit to remember the little things about Christmas’ past, the things i’ll never get back and the moments that will have to remain as memories.

but I am also thinking of the current little things. thankful for the new Christmas memories i have made as an adult and am still making.

spend some time reflecting this Christmas. appreciate your past. accept it, treasure the good parts and learn from the challenging ones. lock up those memories in your heart, not to be used as self pity in the present or future, but to hold dear as a part of your story. we don’t get to choose everything that happens to us, good or bad. but we can choose to make it all count for something.

we can’t plan everything in life. in fact, we can plan very little. so today i choose to cherish what i have now. i choose to treasure my good memories in my heart and love the best that i can this season.

because Christmas will always be about the little things. it’s just up to us to see the new ones every year, and make new ones to treasure later.

(Christmas memories, 2008-2012)

(Kim Gannon- I’ll be home for Christmas)

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