Tis the Season: Holding On to Memories

Growing up can be a jarring experience.  You move out into the world and, suddenly, everything you’ve ever known is different.  After a while, you get used to it.  Life is fluid.  That’s just the way the world works.

Some things, though, never change.  Like Christmas.

Although we’re not exactly warm and cuddly, my family has always been close.  We push each other’s buttons and drive each other crazy, but have always enjoyed spending time together.

Christmas has definitely been different this year, with Grandpa in the hospital.  But, in many ways, it’s still the same.  As I said in yesterday’s post, no matter what happens, Christmas is still Christmas.

Many years ago, before college, I had a moment one Christmas when I realized that it wouldn’t always be like this.  There will hit a point when we’re all grown up and have families of our own.  We’ll be too far away to come together like we always have.

I’m thankful that this hasn’t happened yet.

But don’t know what the future holds.  I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing a year from now.  I don’t know if I’ll be home for Christmas.  So I’m bound and determined to make the most out of this year’s holiday.  I’m going to soak it all in, from the decorations to the carols to the time spent with family, and make memories that will last.

Merry Christmas, dear readers!  I’m very thankful for each and every one of you.  I wish you joy and blessings this holiday season.

christmas-ornaments


Tis the Season is a yearly holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

At Year’s End

Dear readers,

It’s the end of the year and I am tired.

2014 was a challenging year.  There were a lot of ups, don’t get me wrong, and I made some fantastic memories.  But boy, am I eager to see it go.  I actually wrote up a big post analyzing my year, explaining everything that happened and whatnot.  But I don’t think I’m going to post it.  I feel like I should be putting more effort into the whole blogging thing.  I feel like I should engage more, follow more blogs, immerse myself in the splendor that is WordPress.  I want to.  But lately, whenever I think about sitting down to write a simple post… all I can think of is how tired I am.

The words are there.  There are so many things I can say right now.  But I’m not sure if I want to talk.  I’ve got a long road ahead of me and there are a number of stories to tell.  Right now, though, I don’t know if I want to let people in.  I just want to hole up in myself and be.

It’s been quiet here on my blog since Christmas.  It’ll be a quiet New Years–I’m going to Wisconsin for a few days to celebrate Christmas with extended family and won’t have internet access.  It may be quiet for a while.  I’ll come back, don’t worry. At this point, blogging is in my blood.  I’ve been doing it since I was fifteen and know I won’t be able to stop.  But, for now, my stories need to be mine for a while.

In light of all of this, I just want to let you know (yes, YOU reading these words) how much you mean to me.  I haven’t engaged with you as well as I should, but know that wherever you are, I am thankful for you.  Thank you for taking time to read my blog, and I look forward to getting to know you better as 2015 comes around.

Happy New Year, friends!  Let’s make this next one the best yet.

Amelia

Tis the Season Day 6: Be Still

I’ll let you in on a secret, readers.  This Christmas series has been exhausting.  After school ended, I thought life would settle down.  I thought things would be smooth.  And I thought a week-long blogging Christmas blitz was a fantastic idea.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved writing the Tis the Season posts every day.  It’s been a big challenge, planning and writing what I hope have been fun, insightful themed posts every day.  I definitely feel like I accomplished something that I’m incredibly proud of.  But, outside the world of blogging and Christmas, the world goes on.

In the past week, I finished my semester, had my wisdom teeth removed, attended a terribly awkward family gathering, and spent two days traipsing around Duluth, MN in the rain.  I’ve had one day of true vacation, three days of mouth pain in pajama land on the couch, a day of socializing with people I really don’t care about, and two days on the road.  It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong.  But boy… blogging on top of all of this has me plumb worn out.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I encourage you to take some time in rest.  As crazy as the past week has been, I find myself in these little quiet moments reflecting on all the blessings in my life.  There is so much to be thankful for.  So today, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I encourage you to take a minute to be still.

Also, the Oh Hello’s “Family Christmas Album” is one of the most spectacular holiday arrangements I have ever listened to.  Get comfortable, press play, close your eyes, and let the music flood over you.

Tis the Season Day 5: A Shift in Focus (Guest Post by Britta!)

Welcome to Day 5 of Tis the Season!  Today, I’m honored to feature a guest post by the wonderful Britta of What’s Past is Prologue!  Although I don’t know her very well, I’m over-the-moon in love with her blog and so pleased to have her contribute to my Christmas series.  If you’re looking for new blogs to read, definitely stop by her blog!  Here comes the post…

Christmas 2014: A Shift in Focus

Hello there, everyone! In case you don’t know, I’m Britta; Amelia and I go to the same little college out on the prairie together. When I started up my blog a short while ago, she was one of my first followers and I always look forward to her own posts. So, it’s my pleasure to be contributing to Keep Your Feet’s “Tis the Seasons” series.

The holidays have always been a magical time for me. I love the traditions, being able to spend time with family, the overall cheer. I love how we are able to take the darkest time of the year and give so much beauty and light to it. There is something so undeniably special and comforting about that.

Despite all this, despite my love for the holiday season, I have to admit—I’m not feeling the holiday spirit at all this year. Last year at this time, I was so excited for Christmas I could hardly stand it. I listened to Christmas music non-stop in the days leading up to the end of fall semester. It was without a doubt my study music of choice pretty much every day. I looked forward to seeing family, to continuing the long lasting Christmas traditions we have, to having time off from school and basking in all the holiday cheer.

This year though? Not so. For some reason, my holiday cheer has been increasingly lacking in a way I can’t even really properly describe. I’ve been listening to Christmas music on and off, though certainly not with the same zeal that came with last year’s holiday season. The Christmas tree at home with all the presents underneath it is certainly beautiful, but it doesn’t conjure up the same feelings of excitement that it used to give me in the past. Today my mom and I made Christmas cookies—okay, well, truthfully she did all of the baking and I just helped with decorations and such. Usually, I am over the moon to contribute to this time-honored tradition—today? I couldn’t have been less excited. Even decorating the tree—one of my absolute favorite traditions—wasn’t as fun this year. This year, all these traditions that I usually love so much just seem more like chores to me than anything else.

Hold it, hold it! What kind of addition to “Tis the Season” is this? This is supposed to be all about the beauty and joy of the holiday season and you claim to be lacking all of that right now! What the heck?

Yes, you may be asking these questions right about now. In fact, I completely understand if you are. This certainly wasn’t the post I set out to write when I initially told Amelia I was interested in writing a guest post. I realized yesterday while I was trying to write that initial post that, while it probably would have been cheery, bright, and funny, it wouldn’t have been in line with my current feelings; my initial post idea would have felt cheap and dishonest.

To appease any uncertainties that might be had with this, I promise that I’m about to get to what I hope will be a meaningful point here, so just bear with me.

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I’m being a Scrooge this year. It’s not that I’m not thankful for this holiday season. I really, truly do love all the joy and happiness that the holidays bring with them. The fact that Christmas comes around every year is quite comforting, really. It’s not that I hate Christmas or am dreading in it anyway; that is not the case at all. More so, I’m just filled with less excitement than I usually am.  During my busy semester that just wrapped up, I blamed my lack of excitement on my stress and exhaustion; however, I don’t think that’s what’s really going on.

You know what I think? I think I’m growing up.

Okay, that might sound cheesy, but it’s true. 2015 will be a year of big transitions for me as I graduate from college and move out into the real world. I think a lot of my disinterest in Christmas this year is simply coming from the fact that I’m more concerned with what’s ahead; my priorities have shifted as I look for meaning in myself and in my future. An appreciation for the time honored traditions that I love so much have been dampened with this shift in focus.

Despite my lack of excitement, I still want to make the most of this Christmas season. The traditions I usually love so much aren’t what’s most important, anyways. More so, I want to make sure I spend this holiday season the right way with the people who matter most. I want to let those people know how much they mean to me. To me, the holidays are really about  with family and friends, appreciating each other, and making special and long-lasting memories. They are about looking back on the year and being thankful for all the good times, for looking ahead with hope to the New Year.

There is so much beauty in this time of year; I am still very much aware of that and I am very thankful for that. A lack of holiday cheer doesn’t necessarily mean this holiday season will be any less enjoyable for me; it just means I’ll have to approach it differently.

Different can be good. I’m going to try to make the most of that.

Tis the Season Day 4: Awkward Family Gatherings

Family: the people you are stuck with. You love them, but oh do they drive you crazy.

This time of year is full of family gatherings. People flock from near and far to be together. Sometimes this is a good thing. There’s nothing better than a long conversation with a beloved cousin, aunt, or grandparent whom you haven’t seen in a long time.

But then there’s the other side of the coin.

This afternoon, my parents, brothers, and I are making the trek down to the cities to gather with my Dad’s side of the family. Every year, it’s a dreaded event. You see, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins lived near each other when we were young. The cousins are all close friends and still hang out all the time. All the other parts of the family have lots of money, working white-collar jobs and traveling all over whenever they want. One aunt spent five years working in Paris just because she could.

To say my family doesn’t fit in is an understatement. We have always been treated like the weirdos who live out in the boonies. We live on a farm, go to church, and don’t run after money like it is the most important thing in the world. It’s stupid because we only live an hour away and are just as smart as them. But, for whatever reason, we have always been treated like we are different.

I dread these gatherings. I always feel so awkward around my Barbie doll cousins with their corporate jobs and pretty little pencil skirts. They didn’t even talk to me until I was sixteen. They were the popular girls. I was the shy girl with her head in a book.

Last year, every single cousin brought their significant other. They all sat in couples, talking and flirting and laughing while my brother and I sat alone. I don’t mind being single, but boy. That was awkward.

I used to try really hard to fit in with all of them. After all, they are my family. But now, I’ve given up caring. Christmas gatherings are something to grin and bear.

It’s just for a few hours. I can do this.