My mom, sister and I were having a cozy moment the other night around the fire, a few days before Christmas. My mom brought up the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas” and said that song used to bring her to tears, remembering her mom after she passed. She asked us what that song made my sister and I think of.
Both Becky and I recalled the six-hour trip to my grandparents’ house for our holidays. As we pulled up, you knew they had been watching for us because almost immediately their door would open and we’d be swallowed up in hugs. The house would be filled with amazing smells and we would be loved on the entire visit.
I include a grainy picture of my grandmother’s Christmas village that was either lighting up her mantle, or under the tree after the presents were opened. This year, the village isn’t being set up for her or by her as she passed away in August. However, some of her village will join my other village pieces, inherited from my mother-in-law, to be lighted in her honor.
Grandma’s village has always been a part of “being home” for Christmas.
When I was in high school, we moved to another state, which was pretty devastating for me. As we moved and I tried to grapple with where “home” was, my dad told me that home is where they love you.
This year, for the first time, I’m hosting my family at my house for Christmas. It’s a big honor to be the one to try to create “home” for Christmas, and as I planned and started to stress to make it perfect, I remember my dad’s words, and relax because I know that what matters is the love. And even if Grandma isn’t physically here to give a big hug, all I need to do is switch on the light and the memory of her love is restored.