Christmas Reflections - Part 3

We probably all remember our first Christmas away from home. I never went away for Christmas before, never a Christmas trip with a friend or sibling. I was always with my family for Christmas no matter what. It wasn't until the first Christmas that I was married that I was away from home.

I married at the end of September in 2006, so by the time Christmas rolled around that year I hadn't really gotten used to being alone. I not only have a fairly big immediate family, but they are a loud group, so it took me a while to get used to so much silence (now I love it!).

Not only had I gotten married, we had moved out west a bit, about 350 miles from my parents and family. We were also a solid 100 miles away from his family, so we were pretty much in total isolation. My husband's job at the time required a lot of holiday work hours so we couldn't typically get away before or on Christmas.

I remember our first Christmas alone together. It was exciting, but also isolating. It was festive, with our little Christmas tree and decorations, but also a little bare. I am no great cook anyway and didn't plan ahead, so our Christmas dinner was a DiGornio pizza!

I wasn't working at the time due to my immigration situation, but I remember being absolutely adamant that I not use my husband's own money to buy his Christmas gifts. I had some savings and took a little out to get him a few things, and I think one of them was the box set of the MASH series if I remember correctly. In every way it was a small, quiet Christmas with hilarious food and small gifts, but we were twenty-three years old and it still had that feeling to me like we were "playing house."

Here we are thirteen years later and our house is still pretty quiet (though the beagles do liven things up quite a bit). We are much closer to my now to my split up family as they all have their own households, but on Christmas Eve, before we all get together for gifts and food, my husband and I still celebrate privately, exchanging gifts and taking a few pictures. The feeling of playing house together is gone, but in it's place is the peaceful, comforting life that we have built together that is warm and festive all on its own, not just at Christmas but everyday of the year.

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