staying home

Home for the holidays, but it feels different

You’re probably tired of hearing people say it: The holidays will look different this year.

They won’t just “look” different, they will feel different. (It’s felt different this entire month!)

I’m home in Seattle for the holidays. Many people around the world cannot go home for the holidays. Better worded: They are making the smart choice of staying put rather than risk spreading the virus, or getting it (and potentially spreading it).

Because I’m already home, I’m one of the lucky ones, right?

It still feels very different. It feels kind of empty and sad.

Every Christmas, my relatives from Hawaii and California fly in and we spend the holiday together. My parents always make way too much food for every meal. And, yes, usually I am working up until December 25, but I’ll wake up early to meet them for breakfast at Pike Place Market before heading into the office. Or, I’ll head straight to my parents’ house after my work day is done so I can hang out with everyone. And, of course, there are always the weekends together where we are caravanning from the house to a restaurant to the mall for shopping.

It’s always lots of eating together, laughing together and playing random games together. I swear I get an ab workout just during the month of December from all the laughing we do. There’s always some new inside joke that evolves between my cousins and I. Or maybe one of my aunts told a funny story.

This year we won’t be together. We are all staying at home. I won’t even see my parents because they are caring for another family member.

Another reason the season feels different is because I’m not seeing any of my friends who would typically come home for the holidays. I have friends from high school (and grade school) who now live all across the country yet every December we will all get together when everyone is home for Christmas. Or, I may meet up with one or a few one-on-one to catch up. A lot of us do not talk frequently throughout the year, but whenever we get together it’s like nothing has changed. How is the pandemic affecting your friendships?

So, yes, I am home for the holidays. But, as we all know, home is not a physical location. It’s the people that are close to you that make up this “home.”

I understand that I have a lot to be grateful for: my health, my family’s health, and of course my husband and puppy. The three of us will have a quiet Christmas at home. We’ll (hopefully) sleep in, go for a nice walk and eat … something … we haven’t planned out what yet!

But, I just wanted to mourn the loss of “normal” holiday traditions. This time of year is my favorite time of year. It’s not the same. (But, it can get back to be in the future).

If you are feeling alone or sad this holiday season, know that you are not alone. Know that things won’t suddenly “return to normal” but there is hope. We will all just have to move forward, together.

Sending you peace and love. Happy holidays.

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