This year was probably the weirdest Christmas "Vacation" for me. I'm a huge Christmas fan, like I start listening to my Christmas pandora station on November 1st. I love Christmas scents and decorations and the idea of Christmas, but it seems like every year Christmas passes by and I don't even notice it. The other members of my family are not huge Christmas fans by any means. I am the one who starts breaking out the Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. We don't have any Christmas traditions that we follow, so it's different every year.
I am a very organized person and I like structure and schedules, although I am not anal about sticking to them because I know that other people act according to the wind. But I do know that once I get my own house and start my own family that we will create our own Christmas traditions; like Christmas movie in pj's on Christmas Eve and a more organized dinner than our buffet style like we have going on now. I have so many plans for the future and I just cannot wait till I can actually go through with them.
Now my 2013 Christmas adventures. This is my first Christmas that I have "come home" from college since I am a freshmen. I thought that it would feel weird and different but it was pretty close to the sameness as every year. My immediate family, as in my mom, dad and brother, and I celebrated on the 23rd and we had steaks for dinner and watched Scrooge on TV, then we opened up presents and had s'mores in the backyard. Nothing too fancy.
Then on Christmas Eve, we drove up to Dallas, where my grandparents live. We didn't even do anything on Christmas Eve. No Christmas devotional or the nativity story or anything. We just unpacked and sat around the house. A wee bit disappointing. On Christmas Day, mom did fix a hearty breakfast, which was very delicious. And the kitchen was busy pretty much the rest of the day. We watched A Christmas Story through out the day. I don't think I've actually sat through the entire movie in one sitting. But I still know pretty much even line. My uncle and aunt and cousin came over, then my great uncle and his wife arrived shortly after. We sat and caught up with each other. Nana called from the kitchen and said that it was ready! We ate and then ate some more. About an hour after that, we exchanged gifts and talked some more. Then about 5pm, everyone left. It was nice to catch up with everyone, but I guess I just had anticipated a lot more of the holiday atmosphere.
Thursday morning, we started packing up everything in order to go up to Oklahoma where my dad's family lives. We ate breakfast with my grandparents at Whataburger and left my dog, Sunny at their house because we figured 22 people is enough without a dog to worry about. We said our goodbyes and headed up north. When we got there, my cousin and his new wife, my aunt and uncle, and my Mamaw and Uncle Tim were there waiting for us. Then, my other cousin and her husband and their four young kids arrived! That was a lot of people for dinner, but it was great because Oklahoma Christmas was what I was looking forward to. It would be the first time that everyone on my dad's side of use family would all be together! It was definitely the "traditional Christmas" that I had hoped for. We played with the little cousins and once they were tired and went home, we stayed up late teaching each other new games like Greedy Gambler and a card game called Spot It which is supposed to be for kids, but think the adults have a lot more fun with it.
On Friday, the rest of the clan arrived; my aunt, uncle , and their four kids. Now we were all here to enjoy one of the last holidays with our Mamaw. She is not doing her best and we all wanted to spend time with her now while we had the chance, so this was definitely a Christmas to cherish. We only do stocking stuffers for the LeFan Christmas because there is so many of us, so it doesn't take to long for the gift exchange. I really enjoyed the food, family, and fellowship that we had in Oklahoma. Saturday was a traveling day, closer to 10 hours of it. We left around 9:30, we stopped and ate, then picked up Sunny, and continued on. We got home about 8 o'clock that night. I was glad to be back in my own bed.
Reflecting on this Christmas made me realize the importance of fellowship and the "specialness" of the holiday season. It gives us a reason to slow down and gather with our family. We are able to spend time with those who we don't see often. We are able to be with the ones we love and hold close to our hearts. We are also able to join together and celebrate our savior's birth. Family is very important and we should never take our time together for granted. Although this Christmas wasn't the "traditional Christmas" I was anticipating, it was time full of love and laughter that I will remember for the rest of the years to come.
So here's to next year's holiday season, hoping that it will be as great, if not better than this one!