My wife and I wait all year for Christmas and the much-needed lengthy holiday break.  We turn our house into our own intensely decorated winter wonderland, we do a lot of sitting in front of the fireplace and watch traditional reruns like Home Alone and Christmas Vacation.  Our kids have graduated from Disney’s Prep and Landing and love repeating lines from both Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie….one that involves a deer and one that involves a port-a-john.  If you’re familiar with the Griswolds, you know which two lines I’m referring to.

Unfortunately, multiple coaching commitments for two different kids coupled with unseasonably warm weather made those plans a little difficult in December, except for a couple of early Monday nights.

Quick question, Home Alone 2 came out in 1992?!?!  Is that real, are we really that old?  I think it’s more disturbing that 1992 was 30 years ago.  How is that possible?  I have promised my kids that one of these years their mom’s annual bonus will cover a stay in an NYC hotel suite on Christmas morning followed by a limousine ride around the city with a cheese pizza for breakfast, a la Kevin McAllister style.

Each year we discuss the need for less stress in our lives around the holidays because no matter how early we put up our real tree, the month of December goes by way too fast.  Too much time is spent worrying about gifts for the whole family, who is hosting which night, and who is cooking what.  I’ve always secretly admired the families whose hosting traditions are so set in stone every year that they don’t even require plans…everyone knows where to be and when, and if you miss it then it’s on you.  I’ve also long been jealous of the folks who just bolt town right before Christmas to do their own thing with their own children, and get away from the headache of having to formalize dinner plans for multiple nights in a row with who knows how many sets of family.  I promise I understand the level of selfishness in those pipe dreams, but just once…

This year we came close. After Christmas, we took the boys to Chicago, our favorite city, to celebrate our 13th anniversary, and somehow managed to make it there and back without any major airport disruptions.  Not many people can say that.  We did a lot of eating, a little shopping, visited a couple of museums, and even skated outdoors our first night there at the outdoor rink at Millennium Park…hands down the highlight of our trip.

At the end of the day, life is short, too short, you do only get so many holiday seasons to share with close family.  So whether it’s your kids or your parents or even grandparents, here’s to hoping everyone takes advantage of every opportunity they have to live out as many holiday traditions as possible while they can.

I watched the morning news from home this morning because the kids don’t go back to the classroom until tomorrow, and everyone is trying to share the same optimism, hoping this is the year we finally get over the pandemic hump.  An author, or even possibly a motivational speaker (I wish I would have paid attention to who he actually was when he started talking), came on and talked about being intentional about your appreciation in 2022.  He said every time you feel yourself about to say, “I have to…”, change that to “I get to…” and see how quickly it starts to change your perspective.

Here’s to hoping everyone had a chance to reboot over the holiday break and is ready for a new year!  Cheers to 2022!

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