Although I hate to admit it, we did consider not putting up a tree this year (shame, shame, I know). Not for any other reason but the fact that we knew this year it was going to be a super low key holiday and my entire immediate family was going to be in different corners of the world for the first time ever. While my Dad has unfortunately had to be away for work for I think one, or maybe two Chirstmas' in the past, we have always had our Mom around. My Dad is away in Africa working this turn around and doesn't return until January, and my younger brother is in Japan in the middle of his student exchange this year. My Mom decided to go with our Aunt and Uncle and their kids to Disneyland for the holidays (and a visit out to see her and my Uncle's Dad, which I'm so happy for her to have the opportunity to do). My Mom is feeling sad about leaving for the holidays but we all know that this is what's best for her this year (even though she may not agree). She likely won't get the chance to do it again as our family continues to grow and the babies will definitely be old enough to realize their "Gamma" isn't here next year! ;) In saying all that, this is still our first Christmas completely apart from our parents, all three of us. It's just my sister and I here together this season, although, she has her own amazing family of four now to celebrate with. I gratefully have Ben's family who I consider my own and we'll be celebrating with them. A side note to Mom, Dad, & Chayse - Casey & I will miss you! Although, one Christmas apart won't erase all the memories we've shared together over the holidays in the past, we promise ;) Plus, we know we don't have to physically be together to remember how much we all love each other. We'll see you on skype Christmas morning!
To make a short story long ... I told Ben that while I originally "didn't see much point" to setting up a tree and decorating, "it doesn't matter to me how much work it is to decorate for the holidays, or get and set up the tree. It's only once a year and for me, the memories that we make doing it are worth the work". It's not Ben's style to steer away from something just because it's inconvenient (thankfully because there isn't a whole ton in life that is convenient) and it's definitely not mine. So Ben turned on the original Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on t.v and we decorated. It was exactly the night I had planned. Here is our tree. We both LOVE it this year more than we ever have! Next year I WILL learn to sew well enough to make simple stockings out of burlap. I hope to get more creative and more adventurous each year. So far, so good!