Tis the Season: No Matter What Comes, Christmas is Still Christmas

Christmas Eve is usually my favorite day of the year, but we’re running a bit low on holiday cheer in my house.  Over the past few days, my family has been thrown one curveball after another–from our power going out to my grandpa ending up in the hospital.

Initially, I had something VERY different planned for today’s Tis the Season.  This wasn’t a post I expected, but it needed to be written.

I’ll start with Grandpa.  Early on Monday, he checked himself into the Emergency Room with pain in his abdomen.  He thought it was food poisoning.  It turned out to be much worse.  On Tuesday, he had emergency surgery.  Removing a gallbladder is usually a short procedure (or so I’ve been told), but Grandpa’s took hours.  The surgery didn’t go well at all–due to a poor diet, his gallbladder was completely dead.  Taking it out set off several complications.

The thing about Grandpa is that it’s very hard for him to give up control.  I love him very much, but he can be domineering at times.  He likes his independence.  When I visited him on Monday, he looked exhausted from the pain and irritable for not being able to do things on his own.  He doesn’t like to be a burden to others.  The fact that various extended family have driven hours to help care for him makes him feel guilty.  Of course, post-surgery, I don’t know how lucid he is.  Mom’s been there every day and says he looks awful.

Because of this, Christmas plans have been shuffled around quite a bit.  We haven’t watched our normal movies or made our holiday yum-yums.  Mom hasn’t even wrapped presents yet.

On to the power outage.  Yesterday brought a mix of rain, sleet, and snow, resulting in hazardous driving conditions.  As I headed home from work, I noticed a car in the ditch.  Its hood had been completely ripped off and little bits of mechanical parts littered the ditch.  It turns out, the car ran straight into an electrical pole, tearing the power line in several places.

So… no electricity, no running water, no wifi.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal.  However, my brother and I planned on catching up on holiday baking.  It’s hard to bake cookies without a working oven.  Also, I hadn’t eaten lunch and couldn’t open the refrigerator, lest I let all the cold out.

We solved the no-power problem by taking our supplies to Grandpa’s now-vacant house and using his kitchen under the supervision of our sassy Southern aunt.

Things aren’t all bad, though.  My family still made it to church last night and then went to see the new Star Wars.  The power is on again, so we’re able to watch Christmas movies and decorate all the cookies we baked.  We’re still having steak dinner, followed by opening gifts around the Christmas tree.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns.  I often idealize the holiday season as a never-changing remnant of my childhood, but it’s so much more than that.  Traditions may fall by the wayside and plans may be changed last minute, but Christmas is still Christmas.  My family is still here and there are still a thousand reasons to be thankful.

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

Tis the Season Guest Post: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from another special guest!  Join me in welcoming Tori from Between the Notes as she shares about her family’s Christmas this year in light of financial challenges.  I really love her honesty and determination to enjoy the simplicity of Christmas.  Thank you so much, Tori, for contributing!


“Christmas will be a little smaller this year,” my mother said.

Still sleep deprived after my busiest week of the semester, I was home for Thanksgiving and my mother and I were in the car running errands. It was my last visit home as a college student. Since I had started college a few years earlier, my family had made sacrifices and cut back on expenses to ensure that my tuition was covered. By this point, I was accustomed to doing things on a smaller scale.

However, things are different for my family this year.

In 2015, we have had more expenses than usual, many of them unexpected. My grandfather’s health has been declining since the spring, and there have been bills for doctor’s visits, medication, and home care nurses. This summer, there were car problems that took several weeks and several hundred dollars to repair. Last month, our heat stopped working and our washing machine leaked all over the den – on the same day.

With an expensive year nearly behind us, we are quite literally having ourselves a merry “little” Christmas, and that’s okay.

Having a scaled-back Christmas means that we aren’t hosting any big events or buying lots of gifts. The few gifts we give will be inexpensive, or “little tokens,” as my grandmother calls them. In fact, our Christmas is so small this year that we still haven’t put up our tree, although that’s mainly because the den is still a mess. When we’ve finished wrapping our little tokens, they may have to go in a pile under my measly Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which may be the only tree that goes up this year.

All my life, I’ve heard that the holiday season isn’t about material things. It’s the time of year to celebrate the birth of Christ, give back, give thanks, and enjoy time with loved ones. This year, I’m fully experiencing what that means. I’m in a position in which I can’t focus on material things, which has allowed me to focus on the things that do matter. This is my first Christmas as a college graduate and I am thankful for God’s faithfulness and provision through that season of my life, which was not the easiest. I am cherishing the time with my family, especially my grandfather, because I don’t know how many more Christmases I’ll have with him. I have found joy in making things for friends and family, as most of the gifts I’m giving this year are homemade. I am also making an effort to help others and give to those in need. In turn, I’ve realized how much I don’t need. And though my mother’s words were initially hard to accept, I am so grateful for my family’s little Christmas.

So have yourself a merry little Christmas. My family and I will – even if we have to spend Christmas morning beside a Charlie Brown tree.

charlie brown tree - merry little christmas


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

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is like the middle child of holidays.  It lives between Halloween and Christmas, not as flashy as its spooky elder and doesn’t make as much money as its younger.  People enjoy it when it comes, but don’t seem to remember it exists.  When they do, it’s only significant because it comes right before the biggest shopping day of the year.  One cell phone provider’s tagline for their sales this year is “Thanks-getting”.  Which, honestly, pisses me off.

Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is based on a mythic story of Native Americans and their soon-to-be white oppressors coming together over turkey and corn, I actually really enjoy this holiday.

To me, Thanksgiving isn’t a stepping stone on the way to Christmas.  It’s not a precursor to Black Friday, although I do enjoy shopping.  It’s a day to gather with the people you love and reflect on all the things you’re thankful for.

This year, my family is spending the holiday at my great aunt and uncle’s house in the cities.  We usually spend it with my entire extended family and I’m really excited for something more low-key.  We also don’t have to cook, which is amazing.

So, dear readers, time for a list.  This year, I am thankful for:

  • The opportunity to live and work at home for the past six months, which has enabled me to spend lots of time with my family.
  • My job.  I know that I complain about it a lot, but having a job is better than unemployment.
  • All my friends, near and far.
  • Being done with college, which means I have a lifetime of pleasure reading that I’m still giddy about.
  • My cats.  Because it’s gotten cold, they’ve all been super cuddly lately, which I love.
  • Direction.  Even if it’s only until the end of March, I love knowing where I’m going to be.
  • The fact that I’m going back to England in a little over a month.
  • This blog and all the lovely people who read it (including you!)

What are some of the things you’re thankful for?

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I found this Thanksgiving theme photo on Google and kind of fell in love with it’s awkwardness