The Difference A Year Makes

I was reading through our blogs from the past year and came across “Bah…humbug,or not”. I was NOT feeling Christmas last year. It felt like an obligation I had to endure because it was expected of me.

This year, it’s completely different. Initially, I wasn’t going to decorate because it’s just me living here most of the time. Martin and Nathan (my son) aren’t really “into” Christmas, so it wouldn’t matter to them. Yet, as we moved into fall, I felt I *wanted* to decorate.

I found this “pencil tree” on sale. It’s perfect for my space. It holds all my ornaments, which is a feat unto itself! I have an ornament I made in Kindergarten, all the ornaments my grandmother made for me, and all the ornaments my mom bought for my son over the years so his first Christmas tree has something from her. Every trip I take, I bring home an ornament representative of where I’ve been. I even have one or two that were given to me from students when I was a teacher. I really didn’t think this narrow tree would hold all of them and am delighted it does.

Christmas isn’t the big event it’s been most of my life. Mom would spend weeks making chocolates, baking, writing cards and working herself into a tizzy of stress. Every year, she wanted to have “the perfect Christmas” and it always drove her depression to its lowest depths. Rather ironic, really, but not uncommon.

This year, we are changing things. Instead of buying gifts for EVERYONE, we have drawn names. It’ll be the first Christmas in, probably, twelve years I am not hosting. My niece and nephew-in-law have bought a beautiful home and will be taking over that function. The goal is to have less stress and more fun.

It will be fun. We can’t get everyone together in December, so we are celebrating Ukrainian Christmas in January. My nephew-in-law is Chinese, so instead of a turkey, he is cooking an authentic Chinese dinner. Nathan, at 19, is now the youngest in the family. We can play games such as “Cards Against Humanity” and spend time together as adults.

I’ll help make the krumkake this year because I *want* to, not because it’s expected. I’ll help make the lefse for the same reason. It’s amazing how removing the sense of obligation is helping me enjoy the season and all that goes with it.

It’ll be the first Ukrainian Christmas with home made Chinese food and Norwegian treats. I can’t wait.

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