Christmas Traditions and Gratitude
At this time of year, so many people struggle to be happy with everything going on in life. There are just so many reminders of what should be, or what could have been.
For years after my mom and sister died, I dreaded December and Christmas. I hated everything about celebrating family, as half of mine was gone. The first year after the car accident, I distinctly remember putting up the Christmas tree half-heartedly and alone. A few years later, when my Dad had re-married, I remember coming home from my part-time job to the house completely decorated. My Dad, step-mom and step-siblings set up the tree and put out all the decorations without me. I took one look at the living room, no words were shared, and I walked down the stairs to my room and cried. In my mind, decorating for Christmas was a family activity, and I was not included. Hurt was an understatement, and so for the remaining years that I lived in there, the pain remained and I never partook in decorating.
With time, I decided that I could not spend the rest of my life dreading this happy time of year. When Mr. MPB came into my life, we began developing our own traditions to make sure we always enjoyed Christmas. Traditions like:
- Christmas decorations go up after Mr. MPB’s birthday and come down before the New Year. We always pick out our Christmas tree together and enjoy our time together decorating the tree together, as a family.
- We stay home for Christmas and do not travel. We spent many years spreading ourselves too thin by travelling to visit all of our out of town family. Eventually we ended up so exhausted and miserable trying to make others happy, so we decided a change needed to be made and now we spend Christmas at home as a family.
- Now that we do not travel we spend quality time with local friends throughout the holiday season. We always have a great time visiting with all our friends.
- We walk the dog on December 25, regardless of how cold it is outside.
- We cook and eat amazing food for a week. Every year we prepare different meals and usually they turn out amazingly. We’ve already started thinking about this year’s Christmas week menu. Currently Goose and Venison are on the list, but there is still plenty of time to revise our menu.
- MPB and I forgo traditional Christmas gifts for each other and instead prepare epic
Christmas stocking for each other that generally go way overboard. I spend months preparing the perfect stocking for Mr. MPB and enjoy every moment of it.
- We watch all kinds of super girly Christmas movies – Love Actually, Serendipity, Four Christmases, Miracle on 34th Street, etc. (Truth be told, this isn’t one of Mr. MPB’s favourite parts of the weeks leading up to Christmas, but he generally partakes with minimal complaining).
This year I am adding one more new tradition to my Christmas list. As an extra way to see and embrace happiness, I have decided to create and share a list of 12 things I am grateful for this holiday season.
- My blogging friends and supporters. Each one of you, those who comment and those who quietly follow, have given me so much love and strength. I am truly honoured and thankful to have you all in our corner supporting us as we trudge through life.
- Sadie, our furball, is a constant source of happiness and joy in my life. I love that dog so much and every single day I am thankful she is in our lives.
- After two years of only being allowed to walk our dog for 20 minutes a day, I am now running and cycling regularly. Mr. MPB and I have hired a personal trainer to help us in our quest to return to being more physically fit. A large part of our decision to stop trying and turn to adoption was about living a healthy lifestyle not consumed by loss and so we have decided that one more very important step in that direction is to be physically fit.
- The one great thing about not trying, is my ability to drink wine and delicious Candy Cane Martini’s! This may sound silly, but i can drink again without any concern for my cycle day. I am so happy for the simple pleasure of s stress free, non-guilt ridden glass of wine.
- I am thankful that one of my mentors asked me to help with some work in the last few months. While the work has been minimal, I have been thankful for having something meaningful to focus on even if only for a few hours at a time. And of course, the extra income has been pretty nice as well.
- We have two family members who have been particularly supportive of us through the last few years. I am so thankful for their love and compassion.
- Our adoption references. Without knowing what they said, I am fully confident that they had only positive things to say and we are thankful for their efforts and love. Their positive words are a necessity to help us grow our family so to say we are thankful is an understatement.
- Everyone loves getting presents, but I really love giving presents. I love finding the perfect gift for each person, I take great pleasure in
wrapping the gift and I love watching the excitement on people’s faces when they open them. Everything about giving presents is wonderful and I am thankful we are able to share enjoyment with others in our lives.
- Our counsellor. She has been a life savour and a constant support to me through the last two years. I don’t know how we could have survived all of this without her being a rock and providing us with encouragement and love throughout our journey.
- I know a lot of people struggling with infertility and RPL, really struggle through the Christmas season. For some reason, for us, this is one of the rare times of year that is not marred by a miscarriage. So at this time of year while we remember what we have lost, we make an effort we will focus on what we have – each other, a happy marriage, a delightful furry dog and loving friends and family.
- Mr. MPB is the love of my life and I am thankful every single day that we choose each other, we choose to invest in our love and we choose to build our family together regardless of the hurdles that at times feel insurmountable.
- I am thankful for everyday that I see something that makes me smile. I am thankful that through most of the last few years I have been able to find happiness and hold onto the moments that arise. I think without these moments I would have lost myself long ago.
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