This year is our first-ever Christmas on our own. In the past the mere thought of Christmas without our families would have sent me into a depressive state – Christmas is about family! But this year, we were facing a move across the world in January and it didn’t make sense for us to travel when preparing to uproot our lives a few weeks later. Maybe because the decision was more necessity versus choice, I found myself excited about doing Christmas on our own!
“This will be great!” my husband promised, cautious of my usual desire to be with our families. “We’ll create our own traditions, its good for us to do this.”
While I must agree, I always envisioned us hosting Christmas, not doing it alone. Historically, we’ve alternated between my parents house in Florida and my husband’s parents in England, so it only seemed a matter of time before we insert ourselves as hosts into the pattern. But on our own? On Christmas?
Surprisingly, I found myself almost excited to do it on our own – a sort of practice run for hosting without the pressure. It was freedom to do whatever we want, the best of tropical yet southern-infused Christmases in Florida to traditional English Christmases – a sort of greatest hits of Christmases past.
Christmas cookies, eggnog and carols while decorating the tree; mince pies, a Christmas pudding (which went MIA in our house, yet to be found!), Christmas cartoon classics like The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, red and green Christmas M&Ms and a twist on our usual egg casserole for Christmas-day brunch.
I even unintentionally carried on a family tradition – my parents always forgot a present and would find it later in the day. They would notice something wasn’t opened and have to remember where it was hidden. This wasn’t every year, but nearly. Well, I beat em. I found a whole bag of gifts for Niamh – about half the gifts I bought her! I’m not sure that is a good sign, surely I should have a few more years before I start totally losing it???
The biggest shock is how much WORK it all is. I think I did well in the decor department, but the stockings weren’t as stuffed as they should be, the cookies were soggy and I was constantly missing one ingredient per recipe. “Oh, bourbon for eggnog? Sprinkles for the Christmas cookies? Custard, but where has the Christmas pudding gone?”
As much as I enjoyed it, and I did, I have an entirely new appreciation for what both of our mothers pull off year after year. And I love Santa more than ever.