The holidays are the one [and believe me the only] time I wish both of our entire families all lived in the same Currier & Ives town. Trying to navigate the waters of who goes to whose house when and brings what food where and mom's gluten allergy and this person doesn't like meat and let's draw names and no I don't want a gift card and if someone buys us another ornament I'm going to scream.
I can't breathe.
I didn't grow up near family. We all had to either travel to another state or grandparents had to come to us. Cousin reunions didn't happen. I have a slew of cousins I've only seen twice. Kathryn has never met my brother, and only seen her aunt and cousin once. She's seen her great grandparents less than 5 times. She only sees my parents when they make the sacrifice to travel here when they have free time [usually my mom by herself--Dad has only seen K 3 times this year] because we don't have a vehicle for me to travel with to see them.
We "have" to stay home on Christmas Eve because we have a service at our church that we "have" to be at. We wouldn't want to miss it, though, because it is really, really cool. And so it works out perfectly that we get to wake up at our own house on Christmas day because we are already here. Then the next day we drive to NC to see my family. This year, hopefully, my brother and his family will get to come too so our little girls can play together. They are only 3 months apart.
I am really excited to start decorating. It's hard not to jump the gun, but we've got spirit YES WE DO! We are seriously putting our lights up tomorrow because this is the token warm November weekend. We won't turn them on for a couple of weeks still, but at least they'll be up. My favorite part about the start to the season is choosing the ways we will give to others. We hope to live that way all year, but especially this time of year when so many folks are having a hard time. I would rather Kathryn have 2 presents and another kid have 2 presents than Kathryn have 4 presents and another kid have none. It is our goal as parents to teach Kathryn the gospel, and that starts with teaching her that she is not the point. It's not about any of us.
We are taking part in Operation Christmas Child as well as picking out some things from the Samaritan's Purse gift catalog to give to others a world away. I'm also excited to go shopping for our local crisis pregnancy center as they are in great need.
In the midst of all the excitement, travel, expense, and frustration...will you put others ahead of yourself this season? Forty percent of American spending happens between now and the end of the year. Let's do something good with our money.