I woke up on the morning after Thanksgiving feeling uneasy. Surprisingly, it wasn’t because of the three helpings of turkey, mashed potatoes, heaping globs of stuffing, and other tasty sides I had indulged in the day before (although I’m sure that wasn’t helping anything — especially my waistline).
No. My reason? The day after Thanksgiving arrived, and I didn’t know how we would celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday. It may sound strange, but it’s true. I didn’t know what we would do. And I was in a funk.
In years past, the day after Thanksgiving marked the joyous arrival of the Christmas season. Our calendar filled weeks in advance with all the familiar activities we looked forward to every year — light displays, plays, museums, train rides, live nativity scenes and on and on.
This year? I woke up on Thanksgiving morning with only one event on the calendar. One. And it felt odd. Very odd.
Really though, life has felt that way for a while — so this was par for the course.
You see, our family recently relocated from a suburb of Indianapolis to the Nashville area. And while we love all that Nashville offers, the process of settling into our new home and new routines continues. Plenty of pictures wait their chance to hang on the walls, and other odds and ends need completing around the house. We continue meeting neighbors, making friends, and learning our way around town.
Everything is different. Everything is new.
I recently made my way to the movie theater without the help of GPS. It seriously felt like someone should have been there to place a medal around my neck when I arrived! It may have been a small and seemingly insignificant thing. But, in that moment, it felt like a huge accomplishment.
This is how life is right now.
Everything familiar in our environment seems replaced with something new. And that brings about a sense of excitement and adventure. It also comes with a feeling of grief that hits like a tidal wave at times. We miss all the comfort and familiarity of what we left behind. It’s a mixed bag of emotions for sure.
That morning, I realized that I have a choice. I can choose to be Miss Funksters, or I can choose to see the positive. I want to be the opposite of whatever Miss Funksters would be . . . Miss Peppy. Maybe. That’s who I choose — Miss Peppy.
I decided, as I was laying in bed thinking about how we would not be doing our usual Christmas light drive that evening, that instead of thinking of all we were missing — it was time to start finding the joy in the discovery of new traditions. No problem there. Anyone who has ever been to Nashville knows there is plenty to choose from when looking for something to do.
It’s exciting really. We are in a new place with a plethora of possibilities. We are together, as a family, experiencing all this great city has to offer.
In many ways, this experience brought us closer together. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that experiencing this change builds character and resiliency.
For the next few weeks, I need to force myself to stop working on unpacking, organizing and hanging. As a neat freak who likes everything in its place, I find this difficult. But I know it needs to be done.
We need to start making new memories here.
This week, we went to a tree farm and picked out our Christmas tree. We took the lights, garland, and ornaments out of their wrapping and hung them on the branches. (Some lower branches contain more ornaments than others. Anyone with small children understands.) We removed decorations from boxes and placed around the house.
And I found that with each decoration unpacked and placed on a shelf, our home began to feel more like home than ever before.
We may not have our list of places to go. But as the Christmas music played and ornaments were unwrapped? I realized that we brought traditions with us. The advent calendar hangs in anticipation for the countdown. Hot cocoa with chocolate chips, whipped cream, and cherries served and egg nog with a sprinkle of nutmeg poured. Christmas movies watched. Christmas books read. The story of Christmas told.
These are our traditions. And we brought them with us.
And with each passing year, it will begin to feel even more like home. I decided to enjoy this year of simplicity. To enjoy not having a calendar full of activities. I know as the years go on, those activities will come. There is something exciting about experiencing everything for the first time. We choose to enjoy doing things spontaneously as opposed to having it planned out for months.
I woke up the morning after Thanksgiving feeling uneasy because of all I missed.
Today, I am grateful for new experiences. I am grateful for the start of new traditions in our new home.