Every year around this time I start to dread my family holiday get-togethers. I fear the inevitable talking of politics around the dinner table, some relative asking why I'm not seeing anyone, and me trying to explain my job to older relatives who don't understand why I don't leave my house every day for work. I sometimes even question what it might be like to spend the holidays by myself.
I look at my family and remember that, no matter what uncomfortable conversations might pop up, our holidays are filled with so much more laughter and love.
Then the time finally comes and my family participates in our many holiday traditions. We always frequent my grandma's house, bake and indulge in delicious treats that only come out during the holidays, and even go through a thing we lovingly call the Crap Bag on Christmas Eve (a bag of random crap that has one new addition every year). No matter the Winter holiday, everything always revolves around family.
I know that I'm very lucky in the sense that my entire extended family lives within a five mile radius of my house. We're easily able to create holiday memories all season long outside of the actual days. There are nights we hang out and watch holiday movies, bake treats, or help decorate my grandma's house for Christmas. While the big get-togethers can be a lot to take sometimes, I really do love the fact that I get to have those special moments around the holidays and throughout the rest of the year. We're all so close, and while sometimes that seems like a curse, I know how big of a blessing it is.
Christmas brings out a joy out in my family that's only seen during this time of year. Our annual Christmas Eve party goes late into the night as we laugh while retelling the same stories we do every year, play games, and eat more pigs in a blanket than I care to admit.
And that's when it dawns on me every year. I always look around the room at my family and that fear of politics, questions about my life, and what the heck I'm going to wear to each thing without being an outfit repeater melts away. I look at each person and remember that, no matter what uncomfortable conversations might pop up once in a while, our holidays are filled with so much more laughter and love. And that's all someone can really hope for, right?
I've learned to brush off the questions about politics, and the conversation quickly moves on to something else. I've learned that it's okay that none of my older relatives understand my job because they didn't grow up in the era of technology. And I've learned that it's definitely okay that I'm not seeing anyone right now. Those questions and activities have all become holiday tradition now anyways, and it's not ever as bad as I think it's going to be. I know my family means well, and those few seconds of me internally rolling my eyes doesn't take away from the fact that our holidays together are so special, and I wouldn't trade them for the world.