This year was a strange Christmas for us. It seemed like everything went wrong and yet it was a great holiday. In recent years we've been wanting to steer clearer and clearer from buying material gifts and giving more experiences. It's our family motto, "Less things, more experiences." So this year we could count how many gifts we gave our daughter on one hand. And yet, I laid in bed on Christmas Eve, riddled with guilt that maybe I wasn't doing enough. Should our house be filled with dozens of people instead of just the 4 of us (including my mom)? Should we have flown to visit family? My husband reassured me that we were trying to carve out our own holiday and what that means to us. "She's fine. It's going to be ok. She just wants to spend time with us" he said.
I also really wanted to deliver some things to a refugee family I recently met. They had just arrived less than a month ago from Colombia and their home was still really bare. We had an extra television set we wanted to give them just so they could connect with the outside world. It's about 40 degrees right now in Washington D.C. and because they came from a warm climate, they were cold, don't have a car to go anywhere and were thus just stuck in their home with no connections outside of the home. We also wanted to bake them some Christmas cookies. Well... the cookies weren't finished by the time we had to leave, and after driving 40 minutes or so to their house we realized that we were missing a necessary part of the antenna so that they could get reception on the new TV. I was heartbroken. We had just given them a TV they couldn't watch. So, we rushed to BestBuy minutes before they closed for Christmas Eve and got the part we needed. In the end, we left a very happy family, watching TV in Spanish, a language they knew. They were so excited and we felt so at peace that we could make their transition to a foreign country just a little easier.
We forgot several ingredients from our usual Christmas dinner and had to rush to find open supermarkets that would have what we needed. After all of that chaos, we sat down together, enjoyed a meal on Christmas Day and hung out all day in our pajamas. It couldn't have been sweeter. And so it appears that my panic attack the night before was for nothing. Our daughter's Christmas was great. We spent time together, laughed, baked, and helped others. I don't think I'd change anything.
Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you.