But it's a good different.
Instead of being frustrated with trying to accommodate everyone and visiting so many different families and relatives this year, I'm calm. Instead of being stressed over the amount of money I have to spend on Christmas gifts for dozens of people, I happily shopped and bought for the few I needed and didn't break the bank. Instead of rushing through the week of Christmas, I'll be peacefully sipping on hot chocolate with nowhere to hurry off to. Instead of worrying about decorating too early or too much, I pulled out all the stops and made my little home as cozy and Christmasy as possible on November 8th (I ain't mad about it).
This year, it's my first divorced Christmas. I have no one to answer to or approve my plans with. I don't have 5 different Christmas celebrations to try to make that are hours apart. I don't have to spend a fortune on in-laws' Christmas presents. I don't have to plan and argue and bicker with anyone. In fact, I'll be doing quite the opposite. I'll be spending quality time with MY FAMILY for Christmas. I'll be at all three of our celebrations and won't have to leave early or skip out. I will get to help prepare meals and desserts. I'll soak up the glorious decorations and am pretty excited to see my parents' blue tree this year!
Although it's nothing like I imagined, it's better. Although this time of year really forces me to reflect on all that's happened this year, I'm thankful for the place that I'm in. Of course, I see all of the lovey dovey couples everywhere this time of year all cuddled up and romantic as heck, and I want it. It makes me sad for what I don't have, but I have an amazing support system that's gotten me through those dark thoughts. I'm not a grinch this Christmas, although I was worried I would be. I've decorated and watched Christmas movies and enjoyed the buzz and excitement of the upcoming festivities. I've partaken in gift shopping and braved the malls. I'm happy, and it shows. I'm not hiding or wallowing in what isn't this year. In fact, I'm accepting where I am and I'm cherishing the extra time I'll have with my family that I haven't had in a few years. I'll laugh a little louder, take a few more pictures, love a little harder, and hug my family a little longer this year. Because, I can.
And I'm eating up all the extra family time this Christmas.
What does your Christmas look like this year?