I love New York, but sometimes you just need to go Home. By Home I mean the state I was born and raised in home, also known to college kids and new grown-ups as "home, home".
This Christmas helped to cement that you're-an-adult idea I've been having. I opened my presents last at the extended family Christmas Eve this year and didn't even sneak a peak.
There are so many great things about coming home. At my place in New York I had one Christmas sweater to wear, plenty of baked goods to eat, but only a few Christmas decorations to decorate with. It wasn't that I didn't want to decorate, but a lot of my things were still at my parent's and I didn't have enough space in my bags to bring them up at Thanksgiving, when I had hoped I could. I hate to admit it, but I never decorated the gumdrop tree I did have in NYC because Target's giant gumdrops were too expensive. I decorated my parents' tree as soon as I saw the (already bought) gumpdrops in the cupboard.
I only plugged my Christmas lights in once or twice because I didn't want to inflate the electricity bill when I forgot to unplug them.
I love my family's Christmas decorations. Most of them are handed-down, hand-made, gifted, simply sentimental, or all of the above. I know I will never remember who all owned our decorations before us, but I do know that I love coming home to the house decorated. My parents do an amazing job every year.
Crazy Ornaments on a Real Tree
I love that our family still practices nearly all of our traditions and does so much laughing throughout the Holiday.
Looking around the corner of the stairs to see if my parents were done making coffee so it could be "time":
In the last couple of years my Grandparents on my dad's side have joined our festivities. We go around opening our presents, which have always been (sometimes impressively) well thought-through. My mom's delicious breakfast casserole always follows, this year with the accompaniment of a raspberry-esque pastry, yogurt and fruit. There's usually a movie and then a few other variables. 2010's Christmas continued with some of the family watching one of my Dad's new John Wayne movies while the kitchen transitioned into dinner mode and Grandma and I worked on her sewing machines. When her eyes got tired Anna Jo, Justin and I went on a our sibling holiday run! There are usually time constraints keeping it around 3ish miles which is a perfect 3-person run when allergies, colds, and general semi-out-of-shapeness could affect the run. Afterwards my sister went in to pack, while my brother and I went sledding because it was a beautiful White Christmas! My brother had requested there to be sleds at home so Santa had left us some obnoxiously bright ones that also happened to be quite speedy. This limited how many times we could go down the hill in my back yard as our speed increased every time we cleared more trees out of our way and packed down the snow.
We had no desire to break the ice and fall into the creek.
Showers, dinner and general jovial-ness followed until my brother and I drove my sister to the airport where she caught a flight that took her to her first cruise with her fiance's family (best of both worlds perhaps?). Sadly this did mean that she missed the watching of "Amelie," which my brother gave me for Christmas. My mom and I watched it while my brother and Dad drove my Grandparents back to Perrysburg. I now understand why so many people were shocked that I hadn't seen it... amazing. After a little clean-up, it was bedtime. It was a complete holiday.
Uncle Gordon playing us Christmas carols on Christmas Eve and putting me to sleep
And my favorite Princess Cloe
She's adorable. I know.
I know I won't have the same holidays forever, but there's just something about home, home that make the holidays "right".