It’s hard to believe that Christmas has now officially been over a full month ago! Sometimes it feels like the last couple months of the year can really blend together, and maybe a lot of that is due to the anticipation of the holidays — of reconnecting with family and old friends from back home.
This year though, was a little different for us. We hosted our parents out here for the first time for Thanksgiving, and then we prepared to have our first ever West Coast Christmas … just the three of us! (Marty counts as our #3)! So it almost felt like all that anticipation happened earlier for us, in preparation for Thanksgiving. And then afterwards, things just kind of slowed down. In a way that made me think, “wait, it’s Christmas time??”
Which was quite the change for us!
And so we enjoyed our own quiet little Christmas as The Lewis family. And it was weird, for a number of reasons. One being that it is warm and sunny here…uh what!? I’ve never had a Christmas that didn’t involve snow or blistering cold temperatures…except that one unseasonably warm year we had I think two years ago now? Although I did not mind our Christmas Day walk down on the beach one bit 😉 And the second being, that we missed our families a heck of a lot. Not being with family — particularly over the holidays while they’re all together is — I’m not going to lie — a bummer. Luckily, I received lots of texts and video messages, and spent a lot of the day FaceTiming family (thank you technology!) and that really helped a lot. And although there were moments where I felt sad, I was quickly able to take a look around, thanks to my wonderful husband, and remember how lucky I am to be exactly where I am. And that, as much as being with family would have made my heart feel full x 1,000, I was able to appreciate the holidays in a whole new kind of way. In a slowed down holy-heck-I-have-so-much-to-be-thankful-for kind of way. In a way that makes you just pause and breathe and take a look around and sigh and say, “yeah, this is what the holidays are about, too.” Because if you spend all of your time missing what isn’t there, how are you ever going to fully appreciate what is right in front of you?
And so I think I’ve learned something during our first little West Coast Christmas — something that I’ll carry on through all of the Christmas’s to come. That it’s okay to not do everything. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to take things slow. To pause and breathe and sit back and just watch. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to feel bad about not doing it all. You don’t need to buy fancy gifts or decorate your whole house top to bottom. My favorite parts of the holiday were the small things — the handmade stockings from my mom, the cups of hot cocoa, the handwritten Christmas cards from friends, watching Marty stare — every night — at the neighbor’s single strand of lights on their porch railing as if he’d never seen Christmas lights before. So often the little things get lost within the big things. And so often, it’s actually those little things that make our hearts skip a beat or two without even realizing it.
My favorite memory this Christmas was falling asleep with my husband and bully son on our couch, under my favorite blanket, staring at our first Christmas tree. The one filled with ornaments that we’ve been collecting from different things we’ve done together. I didn’t have my glasses on, so the rainbow lights had that sort of blurry effect, like the cover of an old Christmas Carol album, and Marty’s little snores lulled us both into sleep…
& because January isn’t *technically over yet … happy new year friends. May you all have a blessed and wonderful year full of the small stuff that tugs heavy at your heartstrings.