I'm usually a person who is all for change. I love the excitement a "difference" brings- it's an adventure on the smallest scale (typically). Therefore, I was caught off guard when I realized how upset I was that this Christmas would look so differently this time around.
It was really difficult for me this year. As much as I loved the festive decorations and holiday tunes everywhere I went, the fun of buying just the right gift for my family, and the daily delicious chocolate and peppermint treats at work, I was unable to "get in the spirit." I'm thinking it's because for the first time in years (we're talking... 20 or so) we weren't with the rest of our family.
Since we moved to Oregon, each and every year (but one) the Gatlins, Kirianoffs, and Westfalls would congregate either at one of our homes or a neutral location (typically southern California) to spend this joyous time with one another. We would argue, eat, play games, eat, shop, cook, eat, go see movies, listen to music, lay out in the sun, eat some more, and take 3 hours to decide what we were going to "do next." Haha. The hilarities of family, right?
Anyway, this year, everything was different- with my graduation, and the celebrations surrounding the wedding, our family was traveling out here almost EVERY month throughout the year- and if they weren't here, we were there. With the amount of security checkpoints, packing/unpacking of luggage, and the laundry afterward... not to mention the abundant amount of airline tickets purchased between the 13 of us, the Gatlins chose to stay in Colorado for Christmas, but welcomed any of us to head out their way and join them. Going back and forth between there, here, and other options- my family (the 5 of us)- decided to stay in Corvallis. It just made more sense practically this time around, but it still was a hard decision, of course.
I felt the effects of it most on Christmas Eve and day. I am used to complete chaos all around me as 13 people try to dress up and get ready for a theater show and nice dinner that night, and then being woken up by Christian (my 10 year old cousin) the next morning to open my stocking, to only then sit around waiting for everyone else to wake up.
This year, we went to the Nelsons for a tasty dinner before the Christmas Eve service at church... after which, I went home with my parents and sat in my room reading a magazine, for the rest of the night. Sarah and Ian did come over late to spend the night, which was fun and a little added treat. It was nice to come downstairs and see them sitting with mom and dad by the fire, stockings ready to be dug into. I still missed everyone else though, despite the cozy scene in front of me.
We got on Skype with everyone in Colorado: coffee breath, messy hair, and eye boogers in full view. Garrett showed us his legit bow and arrow, Christian held up his rollercoaster-building-set-thing for all of us to see, and Grandpa told the typical jokes we "love" to hear over and over again :) It did make a difference for sure. Rather then just hearing their voices over the phone, one at a time, we were able to see them all, as we tried talking over one another, interrupting and shouting- just like we're used to. The biggest difference is, we were able to hang-up
And we got to go to Disneyland :)