Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

Twas the Season

I am a firm believer that one of the best weeks of the year is the one between Christmas and New Year’s.

It is that week when there are no more presents to be purchased, no more stress about how Christmas day will go, no more worrying about whether or not someone will like your gifts. There is just family. Oh, and maybe one or two returns.

holiday decorated bird house in my mom's neighborhood

Yesterday morning, as I walked into the bagel store, I was struck by how much I love this week. I love that children are out of school and that parents take the time out of their day to sit and have a jelly smeared bagel and hot chocolate/coffee with their kids. I love that it is still cold enough to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. I love that it is still appropriate for said movie to be a holiday movie. I love that I’m still able to order Pete’s peppermint soy hot chocolates and not feel dumb. I love that the house still smells like pine needles. I love that there is no more pressure to ge a bunch of things done, but that my family is still home and I still get to spend time with them (minus Caitlin who just had to go back home. Whatever Caitlin.)

MJ and her daddy

Of course, this holiday season had its downs too. I was stressed about work. I couldn’t quite figure out what that perfect present would be for my step dad so I was disappointed with my gift to him. I wasn’t feeling well. I was exhausted. My mom and step dad had to put down our dog, Toby.

Toby, we will miss you

This holiday season I learned a lot about myself though. I guess it means you’re growing up when you realize that you are more interested in seeing other people’s reactions when they open your present to them, rather than unwrapping your own presents. I had four Christmases (having divorced parents is sometimes really exhausting), but it was wonderful to see (almost) all of my family. I really treasure our holiday traditions and was so happy when each of them came along (including eating minestrone soup with my mom’s family, eating Mexican food with my dad’s family, cuddling up with my family on the couch to watch It’s A Wonderful Life and watching my dad cry without failure, etc.)

Anyway, just in case you were wondering, here are a few more holiday photos from this season. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas Eve – family tradition: home made enchiladas
brown paper packages tied up with strings (how I wrapped my Christmas presents this year)
Doogie, my handsome nephew
Christmas dinner table
me and my older cousin
cousins 🙂
I love her hair like that
MJ and Grand-Piffy
Oh, Christmas Tree
MJ and Toby
Auntie Rachel and MJ – denim shirts, leggings, and over the knee socks
me and MJ in our matching outfits 🙂
MJ in her “ugly” dress (I thought it was cute… she didn’t)

Prey, MJ, Pookie, and Toby

me, MJ, and Toby

Wondering how four christmases works? I’ll tell you:

  1. Wake up at one parent’s house – this year it was my dad’s (luckily, Gramma and Grampa spent the night on Christmas Eve so we got to see them)
  2. Open presents, eat a delicious breakfast, then get on the road to go to the next Christmas
  3. Show up at Christmas #2 – mom’s house
  4. Drink delicious cappuccinos, rush through presents, head to the next Christmas
  5. Show up at Christmas #3 – aunt’s house
  6. Help make Christmas dinner, hang out with cousins, open presents, rush out to get to the next christmas
  7. Show up for Christmas #4 – mom’s house again, with step brothers and niece
  8. Open presents (letting your niece open all of hers before anybody else opens anything)
  9. Get worn out and head back to dad’s to sleep.

Whew. And that doesn’t include the  fifth Christmas that we normally have. The one where we go back to our dad’s house and say hi to our family who always comes over for Christmas dinner there. There just wasn’t enough time this year. I think it might have worn me out beyond return if I’d had any more “Christmas cheer.” It was pretty exhausting, but I’m so glad that I saw the family that I did. Maybe next year I will have Christmas over two days instead of wearing myself out all in one day. We shall see.

I hope your holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate, was full of love, family, and compassion.

What are our favorite holiday traditions?

Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings – Zuzu, It’s a Wonderful Life

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