Already Home for the Holidays

Because Christmas falls on a weekend, the holiday season seems particularly short and quick for
many this year, especially folks who have to travel or can’t take time off work. I was thinking today that this
must be the reason things feel so different this year, and partially, this is true. But the season also feels different
to me because I’m living at home with my parents right now, and for the first time in over ten years, I
don’t have to travel several hours to make it home for the holidays. I AM home. I have no bags to pack
or presents to transport. And no traffic or weather hassles to deal with. I’m already home, and although my folks
and I are busy with work, projects and holiday prep, it is a refreshing change to be here through it all, and see
firsthand how it comes together so beautifully. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to witness the
hard work that goes into preping for the holiday.

Hard work, yes, but fun too, and not very stressful. I went with
Dad to pick out the tree last week, and got sticky sap hands when I helped him put on the lights. A few days later, I
helped mom decorate the balsam, which is adorned with her angel ornament collection, glowling softly from the white and
pale orange lights. We also managed to coat the kitchen with a think layer of flour, baking a half-dozen batches of homemade biscotti and other Italian treats over the
weekend. It has all unfolded rather slowly, a gradual steady pace of activity. Like slow-travel and slow-food, I feel
like slow-holiday is underway, and I’m trying to savor each second of it. I eagerly await the arrival of
my two brothers and sister-in-law, who will do this year what I get to avoid for once — the rushed travel from
their homes (four hours away) to this area, where they’ll make a half-dozen stops in a 72-hour period before
heading out again, back to where they live.

I’ve got mixed emotions about whether or not I miss the thrill
and rush of a fast-paced holiday. I think I miss it slightly only because I became so used to doing it for 10 years.
It’s a funny feeling, NOT having to travel, but it is one I welcome and cherish. It’s really, really nice
to already be home.

[photo from EchoHisLove at