Today is Thanksgiving, a day that we celebrate the harvest by feasting and spending time with our families and friends. I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a holiday a holiday. Since I moved out of my parents house holidays began to take on a different meaning and the feeling of what they were changed. Christmas was no longer the day that we woke up to our presents placed on the couches of the living room next to a box of sugar cereal, a stocking full of fruit snacks, oranges, string cheese, cracker jacks and other snacks that we loved. It was no longer the day that i lounged around until dinner was prepared by my mother and father and then feasted on ham and funeral potatoes or prime rib. It became something different. One year it became a day that my brother and i spent together on the warm beaches of hawaii walking and drinking tea, opening the sent gifts we received, one of which was money to give away (don't tell, but we were so poor we gave it to each other.) Other days were spent in foreign countries teaching people why they are actually celebrating Christmas, spending the day with kind people that welcomed us in to spend the day with their family. These days were spent waiting to speak with my own family thousands of miles away to hear about how they had spent their day which was exactly how i knew they would. 

So what is it exactly that makes these days a celebration to us? Is it the people we spend them with, the food we consume, the weather outside, the parties we attend, what we wear, where we go, or is it even how the food is prepared? What makes these days different than any other day? What makes them special?

It has been more than 4 years that i have had Thanksgiving with my immediate family, since I have eaten my moms stuffing, potatoes, and pie. Since I have spent the day stuffing my face with food and pie and listening to my brothers play music while my food digested. It has been too long since I have been with them. I have "celebrated" in one way or another all of these other years, but it just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving. Why is this? Is it the shear fact that it just isn't what Thanksgiving is to me? Is it only that the food tastes different? Is it just that the down time and conversation are not what they used to be? Will the holidays ever feel like the "holidays" again or does it take longer before the "new holiday" becomes the real thing. Does tradition really make that big of a difference? How many years do you have to do something before the "new thing" feels like a Celebration?

Don't get me wrong all of these years in between have been nice, the food has been good and the company as well, but just different, it just doesn't feel the same. I miss the Christmas tree being set up in the living room in the next week and the way the tissue paper feels that wraps each ornament. I miss the smell of the old popcorn cans that house each of these ornaments and lights. I miss the way the artificial Christmas tree feels as i would sit on the floor and help my mom assemble each  branch trying to make it look as real as possible. I miss the incoming cards and treats and the outgoing rolls that were baked and delivered. i miss the cold air running through my nostrils as i step outside, what "winter" feels like. (California and Hawaii just don't feel the same) I miss the smell of the wood stove, the sound of the jingle bells on the front door. The list is endless, but in all the things i miss I am excited to start my own traditions, to be santa for the first time, to teach the little one about Jesus and His birth, to make her her first stocking, to make "Holidays" for her. I guess the question is do these new moments then become "Christmas" to me, and if so how long does it take?

These are just some things that have been going through my mind a lot lately. Feel free to share your experience with how your holidays have changed. I would love to know what your experiences have been. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and you enjoyed all of the moments that made this day special to you.


  1. I find the older my girls get the more it feels like Christmas. It is still not the same as when I was a kid but We have our own traditions now and I love it.

  2. The most magical Christmas since I was a child was last year when we stayed in our own house and started our own traditions. I am so happy for you that your little family gets to do that this year... But man oh man did we miss you today while we ate turkey and pie and played spoons!

  3. We miss you Anna. The Holidays are never the same. I think it was six years of Thanksgiving and Christmas either in Panama or Hawaii or Vegas before we were back Hermiston. It is hard, and it doesn't feel the same, but they are also memorable and make you thankful as well. Jen and I decided to spend our first Thanksgiving going for a bike ride along the North Shore, which led to a visit to the Kahuku ER and waiting room. We ate Dominoes, but we still had a memorable time. Have fun starting your own traditions and then look forward to returning some day and sharing in the fun. But to be honest it will never be the same. Yes, the food is still great, and the company as well, but this year it was mom, Katie and her family, and us and our family. The number seemed just right because we all fit at the same table and it wasn't so many people that it became stressful to juggle schedules. When I've attended other larger reunion type gatherings everyone is so stressed out that it isn't even enjoyable (and then you get to take a family picture and act like you like being there). It will take a miracle to get us all together again, but we can still be grateful that we have each other and our new families. I love you and am grateful for you! Can't wait to see you.