Home for the Holidays

There are plenty of things to dislike about how our culture celebrates the Christmas season.  More than once I’ve been called a scrooge for mentioning them.

But whatever its flaws, the season tends to draw people home and that seems to me to be a very good thing.

When I was a child everyone in the extended family gathered at my Grandparents’ house on Christmas morning for feasting and exchanging gifts. No one had to travel very far to get there.

But these days it’s rare for a family to all live in the same community.  At least it’s rare among families I know. Most families are now scattered about, and many of us have to travel long distances to come “home.”  We tend to do that on holidays.

Our children are now grown and gone on to lives elsewhere. But at some point over the holidays they’ll both be home again. We’re looking forward to that.

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20 comments on “Home for the Holidays

  1. bobraxton says:

    We have one offspring (age 43) who lives with spouse and two children a distance of about 30 minute walk (much quicker bicycle ride). The other grandparents live as close by as we do. Those grandparents have invited us for the Christmas dinner there on the day. We get to enjoy the younger generations the following (Boxing) day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanna says:

    One of the downsides to our adventure of moving countries is not having children and grandchildren nearby. Still we got to celebrate early this year with some of our family 🙂

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  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, the ease of travel has indeed caused families to separate long distances. My grandmother except for one time never traveled more that 50 miles away from home. She did go to visit my Dad once in Las Vegas and vowed never to do that again. And she didn’t. She was well into her 80s when she died. The culture we live in today has no desire to stay home and live simply. When I was born it was rare that anyone would fly to another place to see relatives. We always drove there if we wanted to visit. Even phone calls were a rare thing. Long distance calling was a premium and only three minutes of conversation were allowed. I could count on one hand the times I flew in a plane up until 10 years ago. In the last ten years I’ve flown at least once or twice a year to visit grandkids and kids. It’s a very media connected world even though families live far away. Face time, email, facebook, twitter, blogs, and many other media venues connect families even in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m glad to hear that you will be celebrating Christmas with family.

    I’ll be off the grid for about four days. My daughter and I will be traveling (driving) to Texas to see my grandson, her son, again this weekend. It will be good to see him again. When I leave on a trip, I disconnect from almost all media. I may text a bit but no facebook, blogs, or email while I’m gone.

    Have a great weekend and I catch up with you on the return.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      You make a great point about how easily we can stay connected these days. I can still remember when long distance phone calls were very expensive and rare. No one even imagined the kind of easy communications we have now. I know people who regularly Skype with relatives in distant places.

      Hoping you have a great trip and a joyful time with your grandson!

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  4. Farmgirl says:

    I am hoping for all children and grandbaby to be around the tree Christmas morning. We are supposed to get some rare Christmas snow as well! I do love when all the kids gather together in one place (with me there!). The older they get the harder it is to get everyone together and the holidays are perfect for doing that. One positive about Christmas for sure. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right about it being harder to gather them together as they get older. It happened to my generation too. Cat’s in the cradle…

      All best wishes to you and your family for a joyous Christmas!

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  5. EllaDee says:

    Topical in our household at the moment, as we pack up city life for a few weeks holiday in our country life, where we will spend Christmas with some family but not others. Although it seems like we did, I think not everyone always has been able to gather but it’s now exacerbated by changes in where and how we live.
    Because it is the season… my Dad is having a bit of a stress about it and I tell him “it’s just one day, a special day yes, enjoy it as it comes with whoever it comes with, but there are other days”. I see too many people, not just on Christmas Day, focusing on what they don’t have rather than what they do.

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    • bobraxton says:

      story I like – at a seminar the facilitator put up a tiny dot at the center of a huge rectangle of blank paper (like newsprint) and asked the audience “What do you see?” The usual response: a dot (not mentioning the whole huge piece of paper!).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Hoping you have a wonderful time in the country!
      It’s good that holidays like this draw us home, but that can tend to cause us to focus on those missing, rather than on those present. A good reminder not to to that.

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  6. With one set of kids in Alaska and another in Tennessee, we are faced with thousands of miles of travel. Still, we see them a couple of times a year. And we are heading to Tennessee to be with our daughter and family for Christmas. As NebraskaDave notes, modern media has opened up a whole new world for communication. But another has been lost: letter writing. We are also seeing the demise of Christmas cards, at least by mail. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      Have a great trip Curt and a joyous time with family.

      You’re right about letters. It’s very rare for me to get one these days and I can’t even remember the last time I wrote one.

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  7. avwalters says:

    Even with us back from California, the family is spread about. At least we’re mostly in the same state now–except for one gypsy sister who splits her time between Florida and Spain. I’ll head north to my mum’s for the holiday–from north to more north.

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  8. valbjerke says:

    When my kids were small, I made the effort. Now they’re many miles away and I can be as Grinchy as I want. The shop radio bombards me all day with orders to be holly jolly – and apparently we all need a new 52 inch flat screen tv. Oi. Just typing this is making me twitch.
    Aside from sending money for the grandkids which generally gets spent in a bookstore- my favorite part of the season is the extra day off of work and the prime rib I toss in the cookstove. Never did like turkey – happy to break with tradition there 😊

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    • Bill says:

      We stopped gift-giving years ago. When we told our families to please not buy us any gifts it seemed we might as well have told them we’d joined some bizarre cult. That and our other objections to the way Christmas is observed have put is in the “Grinch” category. Our Christmas is a quiet, peaceful day. Much like every other day around here. 🙂 But I do like the fact that, for better or worse, holidays tend to draw us toward home.

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