This year I hosted my very first “big Christmas.” One year before I had Mom and Dave to our place in Somerville. Well, not really our place –they stayed at the Charles Hotel but the festivities happened at my place. Christmas 2013 included My aunt, uncle, mom, step-father, grandmother, two cousins, Kevin and two dogs – ages 9 to 70. The majority stayed at the Omni Hotel but once again, we had all the festivities at my place and my Mom and Stepfather stayed in our second bedroom.
Before they came I spent lots of money and time getting all the right groceries, decorations, and thinking of things we could do.
None of that was necessary.
Everything went really well but I could have saved my self a lot of stress if I didn’t worry about being the hostess with the mostess. One of the most fun nights was when we ordered pizza in sat around and talked. That type of moment is not something that you can plan for because it’s organic. And I learned that letting the day unfold is much more enjoyable then trying to map every detail of the perfect week.
My idea of their vacation in Dallas was all about showing them the best sights, feeding them the best food, and making sure everyone’s wish list was met. Aside from a warm sunny day by the hotel pool, everyone’s wish was granted from visiting Monkey Garage Bar & Grill to a Boar hunt for my stepfather. However, there were days when they didn’t want to do anything but hang out together. That did not fit my “schedule” and would stress me out – I would think – but I’ve got to take you to the Natural Museum of Science or you need to see the West Village. It comes back to spending time together was the most fun. Listening to my cousin’s stories and answering his incessant questions about the cities we’ve lived in, finding out that Nana’s first drink was on New Year’s Eve with her first Husband (my grandfather who was a fire fighter and died while on duty in the South End of Boston when my Mom was two) and it was a Screwdriver. I find these nuggets of information to be worth more then gold. If I would have been pushing people through shops and museums that day I would not have been listening and there wouldn’t have been time for story telling.
The lesson I learned is that when family is together, even when on vacation, it’s not about collecting memories it’s about making them. The best way to make memories is to make sure that everyone has time together to talk, share stories and more importantly lots of laughs.
Thanks to my family for making the trip to Dallas. It meant the world to Kevin and I.
How did you spend your Christmas? Did you learn any lessons?