Holiday Comforts


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Up until 8 or so years ago, my definition of winter holidays was one thing: New Years celebration.

See, New Year’s Eve is a HUGE thing in Russia- it’s the family holiday that Christmas is in America. It’s also a “go party- get drunk” holiday, but that just depends on the class of person you’re talking to. Winter holidays for me meant smell of mandarins, my mom’s awesome cooking with a whole table full of food. It meant a Christmas tree (except it was a new year’s tree in Russia) and presents in the morning. It meant those little gift boxes every parent received for their child at work that always had at least 1 mandarin and a ton of candy {not sure what the deal was with the mandarins but they were huge during New Year’s}

New Year’s Eve meant ditching your parents for a few hours while they’re busy cooking and running out with your friends to the local Tree Fair, where crazy sledding, snowfights, ice slides, gigantic tree lighting ceremony took over the mind of hyped up on candy children. There were lots of firecrackers and sparklers, giggling and flirting, lots of toes and fingers frozen and red snotty noses. It was the best time ever. And that’s what being a kid meant at that time.

Here I am, an adult ( seriously?), expecting her own child, in a country with different traditions and celebrations that I accept as my own. My holidays for the last few years have been different. I guess I don’t like to think about it or admit it but it IS difficult being away from my family, not watching all the holiday movies, not eating weird Russian salads…. My husband’s family is spread across the US too. We couldn’t wait  to move away from Cleveland where he grew up and we wouldn’t trade living in Florida for anything. But there are never big family gathering on his side, so that always leaves us to make our own holidays and traditions. Ones that consist of friends and travel and love and, more often than not, Disney.

When we lived in Cleveland, holidays were what you’d typically imagine them to be: family and friends, lots of snow, indoor parties. For some reason, it was always a part of the holidays for us to go to the mall and enjoy the decorations, and the crowds and the buying of gifts. Thinking about it now I realize that there was nothing else to do in Cleveland during the holidays, so the mall was the next best thing.

 

After a few years of living together, I got my way and we adopted a few kittens and that was like a step towards having kids. We would have so much fun decorating our condo with our cats in a tizzy over the shiny balls and strings. That was always a special time for me- it made the holidays just a little more fun.

A year or two later, we finally made a move to Florida and everything changed. We had a ton of new options for celebrating the holidays, but one thing was missing: SNOW. Now, if you know me, you’re aware how MUCH I hate the cold ( and snow, since it can’t be without cold). I said “good riddance” and never looked back, but Andrew thought Christmas wasn’t the same without it.

However, we could now do so much more during the holidays. For one, we could spend time outside!!!!  And it’s amazing how many events you get to visit when you don’t have to freeze your tushie off. So come December, we’d get our fill of Christmas spirit by going to the one place on earth that celebrates it with style: Disneyworld. Nowhere do I feel so much joy and holiday spirit as I do walking the exquisitely decorated streets of Magic Kingdom.

That is ONE thing that I am sad about missing out on this year and the one thing I will be looking forward to, like a little girl, next year. Christmas parades, cookies and milk, fake but very realistic snow, perfect weather with hot sun and a bit of chill in the air, families and kids and blue blue blue sky- what can be better?

And come nighttime then there are the lights, little twinkling lights everywhere you go: yellow, white, blue, red- everything is covered with happiness and glow. Nighttime around Christmas is magical to me, the world comes to life.

 

Of course, there are always  holidays with friends, the kind of friends that feel like family to you. The ones, that despite living miles away from you, gather in one place for Christmas, the ones that you miss so much your heart aches, the ones that make you happy and make you laugh and give you memories and feelings you’ll never forget.

Sometimes we have quiet holiday periods, where all we need is a cosy sweater, a fragrant tree, warm candles, sparkly lights and decorations. I love bringing out my Cookies for Santa bowl which is the one thing I refuse to spend the holidays without ( the bowl, no the cookies). Last year was the first time I talked Andrew into getting a live tree. I’d never had one as a kid and he always refused to get one since  he didn’t want the mess. Last year I put my foot down- I had to have a real tree- and it was awesome ( but a total mess) lol

{There’s gum in the bowl because it’s dangerous to leave cookies out}

And as the Christmas time comes to a close, I can always look forward to another comfort of mine:  New Year’s Eve with friends. It’s the one time to let go and have fun, one time to look and feel absolutely gorgeous, one time to finish up the year with people that you care about.

These are the things I look forward to each and every year as it says good-bye to us. And while this year it will be a quiet and calm time, I will always remember the fun times I’ve had, as well as even more precious times I am going to have, with new and old friends, new and old family members, in new and old places. The holiday season is about to take on a whole new meaning for us as a family, but I really hope  that the old ways will still be there.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Verna
    November 4, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Celebrating with two babies instead of one this year!! Garrett is older so I can’t wait to see his reactions to all the presents! My husband is taking the whole week off between Christmas and New Years so we’ll have a lot of family time! I can’t wait!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      November 4, 2011 at 9:22 PM

      Seriously..I cannot imagine what it would be like having two babies. Man, I can barely imagine having one! I’m glad your hubby is taking time off for the holidays, that’s always the best part!

  • Reply
    ElenaTroupp
    November 4, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Being in DisneywoooorlD around Christmas time is smith I will NEVER forget!
    Such a holiday and childhood and joy spirit! 🙂
    I want a live tree toooooooo! Boo!

  • Reply
    Captivus
    November 4, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    We don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving, so I am the weird one in the neighborhood that get things ready for Christmas in early November, LOL. People think Im desperate, but they dont know we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Christmas was always big in my family while growing up. New Years was big when I was in college partying, LOL! This year we are making Christmas big because my husband will be deploying after the holidays and won’t be here next Christmas. We went to London for Christmas last year, but this year we are going to make it cozy and quiet at home 🙂 LOVED your post! Loved the pictures 🙂

  • Reply
    JodiHall
    November 4, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    decorating, baking and spending time with family 🙂 oh and eating tons of food

  • Reply
    Rachel
    November 8, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    This makes me so anxious for Christmas! We’ll be celebrating our first Christmas with our little one! Now Shadow our kitty isn’t our only ‘child’ who will have a stocking on the mantel! 😉

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