One of the blessings, I suppose, of living my adult life away from extended family has been the freedom to do things our own way. As the holiday time of year is again upon us, I am renewed in the sense of gratitude that we’re not tied to any particular traditions that will make or break a given holiday. In fact, it can be quite exhilarating to try something new and breathe new life into the same old routine of turkey dinner, nap, football (or whatever the drill is at your house on whatever holiday).
My husband, Dean, has a job where he might be away from home for days at a time, and, especially years ago when he was low man on the seniority list, sometimes these days away fell over major holidays. When it began to be that his schedule didn’t allow us enough time to travel and be with family, it felt a little odd, I will admit, to celebrate Christmas, say, with only four people in the house. But with the strangeness of it all came the freedom I mentioned earlier. I remember the first time it was just us and our two boys for Christmas. It turned out that we didn’t get dressed all day — now that never would have happened otherwise — and, in fact, staying in jammies all of Christmas Day did turn into a tradition, of sorts, for a few years.
Dean and I experienced another first last week on Thanksgiving. We shared Thanksgiving dinner with a restaurant full of strangers at a local Cracker Barrel — and I was consciously grateful that we could enjoy the fact that we got to spend the holiday together (it could have gone either way with hubby’s work schedule). Neither of us were hung up that we were missing green bean casserole or mashed potatoes or a house full of family.
As I write this, my hubby is on the roof putting up Christmas lights, and this year he’s decided to scale it back. He’s just not up to the hassle of it all. There are other things he’d rather spend time on — and heaven knows, there are other things I’d rather do than help him with lights — so this year, fewer lights will be enough for us. It looks to be another small Christmas at our house, also, this year with just the four of us for the first time in about eight years. I’ve got to say, I’m looking forward to the freedom of it.