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Broken Norms

It's Christmas Day in the Rees Household. Normally a day filled with early mornings, cinnamon rolls, presents and sitting around our big tree, decorated to the tee. But, this year was different. In July, my parents told me they would be moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana. A smaller town about 2 or so hours north-west of Indianapolis so that my father could take a job there and so, the house is being ready to put on the market in just a few days after updates and paint. It must be clean and ready for photos. So, this year our family celebrated differently.

With me working full time this semester rather than being a student, my breaks were much shorter. My brother had moved downtown and my dad was living in Fort Wayne on the weekdays and commuting back to the Indy area on weekends. My parents chose to avoid the Christmas norm this year and so we never picked out the perfect tree, or pulled the multitude of Christmas boxes from our garage attic. We had no stockings over the fireplace and no lights outside. Our house resembled itself as a house at any time in the year. With no place for Christmas presents to go, we all chose to do one big gift each and just go out and buy it together. (I'm currently typing this post out from my new MacBook! Thanks Parents!)

All of this combined, and adding on the unseasonal weather, Christmas didn't feel very Christmas like this year. Honestly, this has been hard on my family and I. It could be easy to say we all realize that Christmas isn't about the gifts, and the decorations and the food. But, it still has left this sort of hole in the Holiday season. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I have had a wonderful few days with my family and friends. And there is something to be said about all the hype that the Holiday's bring to this time of year. We all need to remember the true reason we celebrate. I'm so blessed to know and understand that this time of year is a true celebration of faith and love. One more great than any thing we could ever seem to comprehend. But, that doesn't mean the traditions of the holidays don't mean anything either.

My family celebrates Christmas rather passionately in a normal situation. We decorate right after Thanksgiving, the house is filled to the brim, full of decor used every year since I can remember. Decorating the tree is always a feat. We go out as a family and pick one out, come home and pull out our ornaments. Most of which have a story or two behind them. We unwrap each delicate Santa and place them upon the mantle and then find space for our stuffed Santa and Rudolf below it. That day or so of decorating is full of happy memories. Days before Christmas has the sounds of tape being torn in the background as we do last minute wrapping and the house smells of great food.

When we moved into this house three years ago, we had a funky Christmas too. We

moved only two days before the holiday and things were a little stressful getting everything together in time. Friends from church even could tell how important the holiday was to our family and came to hang Christmas lights when we were gone one night. When we moved my mom came across an old stitched blanket that used to be hung up around the Holidays. She was going to toss it or donate it and it was in that moment I realized how important all of these memories were. Both my brother and I expressed want to keep it. It had been with us since we were born and just that one piece to us would make Christmas feel less "Christmas-y".

I guess for me, Christmas will always be a time when I just crave the days spent with family preparing for the season. Decorating together, having pieces passed down through generations and spending time beating each other in Euchre. I'm so thankful for the time I have had so far with my family this season, but I hope that we can get back to our norm next year.

With a Merry heart and mind,


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