No Place Like Home for the Holidays

This year Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas. Maybe it’s because we didn’t get to decorate our house, or pull out our stockings and tree from storage. Maybe it’s because we didn’t make it to my grandma’s annual Christmas party or go to downtown Salt Lake to look at the lights. In fact now that I think about it, we didn’t look at any lights this year and we hardly listened to any Christmas music.

Maybe it’s because Derek and I didn’t buy each other a single gift and that we never really celebrated Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Maybe it’s because we were still getting through the culture shock and jet lag of being back home.There are a lot of reasons why Christmas didn’t feel like it usually does this year, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate and enjoy it. And even though it wasn’t filled with our usual traditions, it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t just as magical. Christmas was special this year because it was the perfect excuse to make up for lost time with our families that we missed so much.

On Friday before Christmas, we celebrated one of our favorite traditions and attended our annual gingerbread house contest at Shara and Axel’s. We also indulged in delicious american food and treats that we missed terribly while we were in China.

Derek won the contest….no surprise there.

On Christmas Eve, we went to grandma and grandpa’s house to open gifts from them and gave them their gifts that we brought home from China. And of course, We also ate more delicious food. Derek and I agree that Christmas was the best time of year to come home since everything tastes and smells so good to us at the moment. After dinner, we came home to my mom’s and had our yearly tradition of watching the Grinch. This year, with Ali, Josh, and mom. —We are still living at my mom’s until the renters move out of our house in February!On Christmas morning, I woke up to the smell of coffee and snuggles from Derek, Harvey, and Luna. I told Derek, “this is the best day ever!” (I really missed my good coffee and my puppy snuggles). We opened presents with mom, Ali and Josh and missed having Whitney and the girls there since they didn’t make it town this year.We went to the Durstelers for breakfast (yay for more yummy food!) We exchanged gifts and enjoyed speding time with them, and especially Jake since he is in town. We even attempted to have a family photo shoot…Duke wasn’t too happy about it, but Derek and I were really happy that he was still alive when we got home, so we had to include him.—He is getting old, but he is still doing great!


That afternoon, we went to my dad’s with Ali and Josh. It was fun to catch up with him and tell him about our adventures from the last four months. We exchanged our gifts with him, and (surprise!) Indulged in even more food. I think all of the weight that we lost in China was gained back just on Christmas day.That night mom joined us and the Durstelers to go watch the new Star Wars in the VIP movie theater. I’ve never seen a Star Wars movie in my life, but spending time with family and being able to relax in a recliner was worth my confusion and boredom throughout the movie. (and yes that’s Derek’s finger..not mine.)Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas this year, but that is okay. It wasn’t about the usual traditions and gifts. It was about the time spent the people who matter most and the feeling of comfort and home that we didn’t feel for a long time, and that made it just as magical as any Christmas before.I hope you all had a happy holiday season with the ones you love most. Don’t ever take the time with your families or the feeling of being home for granted and have a happy new year!

Onto the next adventure, Wren





One thought on “No Place Like Home for the Holidays

  1. Beautiful family! It looks like you all had a blast and you’re right, nothing is more important than spending time with family. Hope you’re able to do more of your traditions next year!


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