Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas - Florida Style

Our Christmas Snowman "Breezy"
 I had never spent Christmas outside of Massachusetts.  This year we broke with tradition and headed to Florida.  The reasons we decided to head south were both practical and personal.  We normally leave for Florida on the 26th or 27th. When I was looking for flights for the six of us, the prices were astronomical.  I realized that if we left earlier, we could go for half the price and add 4 days to our trip.

Mikias making shells into ornaments
It was not just the savings and the longer vacation that enticed me to head to the Sunshine State for Christmas. I thought that maybe it would help me to not miss my mom. Since my mother died in 2007, it has been Christmas day that I feel her loss most keenly. I miss her bursting through the door, (arriving at least an hour early) wearing a Christmas sweater, usually with a matching pin and earrings. I miss her unloading her many gifts, hugging and kissing everyone and taking over my kitchen.  Christmas has not felt quite right without her.  I decided that a change of location could make it easier.
Ready for the tree

As our trip loomed closer, I feared I might have made a mistake. Christmas in Florida wouldn't feel like Christmas in New England. At home in Massachusetts, the season was as festive as ever, Santa was visited, the house was decorated,  parties attended and given. Everything felt right, why were we leaving?

A small tree was delivered to our house in Florida. Since our ornaments were at home it looked a little lonely. A plan was made to decorate the tree "Florida Style" .  We walked the beach searching for the best shells.  We strung them on fishing line and decorated the tree with them. Better. As the kids hung their stockings on Christmas eve, that Christmas eve feeling was the same as ever. Christmas morning felt, well, like Christmas morning.  Taking pictures while stockings were unloaded, gifts oohed and ahhed over. The girls were good sports about getting up at an ungodly hour for the boys.  The boys were good about not being excessively loud while the girls went back to sleep a couple of hours later. Later in the day we built a 'snowman' at the beach.  The day was a lovely and did indeed feel like Christmas.

Christmas eve
I still missed my mom, but I do think the change of location, along with another year gone by, made the sting less. I don't think there is a holiday that brings back memories the way that Christmas does.  I'm grateful that my mom made Christmas so memorable.

In the end, we loved celebrating Christmas in Florida.  I really had nothing to fear.  Like home, Christmas is where your heart is.


  1. IT's funny. This subject as been in my brain all day, as I try and clean up from the 'holiday hullabaloo". I'm seriously making 'traveling' our holiday tradition. I loved loved loved Christmas going up. My mom tries hard--- but.... hmmm. Thanks for posting this and keeping those thoughts going. BTW- SOO jealous! I didn't get one of the ECC shirts this year before they ran out! shucks.

  2. That is so swesome. I know you guys had a blast!! Love you all , Uncle Mark and Uncle Rita . ( hah ha Miki)

  3. It's funny, Alison, my Dad died in 2007 as well and this is the first Christmas since, that it wasn't as painful. I too have fond memories of Christmas with him. Ironically, we always went to Florida for Christmas and when he died, we started having them here. The first year was almost intolerable but I carried on for the kids. I think that as time goes on it gets easier but you never forget! Glad it was a good Christmas for all of you! Laurie

  4. thanks for the post Al. My dad died Christmas morning 1988. As the years have has gotten easier to remember the traditions and spend time with my family laughing and looking back. This year we also decided (mostly because my grandson was with his dad,and we thought that might be hard for us)to "travel". We headed for the mountains and some fresh air. looking out Christmas morning over the glorious mountain range...the sun on the snow covered peaks.... i felt closer to Dad than ever:)Merry Christmas..and Happy New year! Aimee

  5. This was my first year without my dad... he died in April. His lack of presence did not go unnoticed... My mom flew out here to spend the holidays, and that has helped a great deal. Sounds like Florida Christmas is exactly what you needed, Alison. Glad you all had a good time, and were able to spend it together. Happy New Year! xoxoxo, your AZ friends.

  6. That was a lovely post. I am glad your Christmas was a little easier this year on you.

    This is totally off the subject, but I have an adoption question for you. I have been following your blog for a while and really love your incites on adoption. My son who is almost seven has half brothers, half sisters, and one sister who has the same birth Mom and birth Dad who was adopted as well. I have not told him that yet because he finally grasped what being adopted means this year. I don't know how to talk about this with him, and don't know what age either that he can handle all this. How did your Mom and Dad tell you about your birth siblings? Anyway, thanks for your help.
    Take care, Jill

  7. Jill,
    I was adopted during the era where almost all adoptions were 'closed'. My parents were given a couple of non-identifying paragraphs on each of my birth parent (some of which was pure fiction). They gave me this information as soon as I asked, which when I was around 12. It wasn't until I met my birthparents in my early 20's that I learned of my biological half siblings.
    I wish I had a good answer for you. I would get the advice of a post adoption specialist on how to best handle giving that information to your son.
    The openess that most adoptions have now are so much healthier for everyone.

  8. I hope that you feel the sting of such a huge loss less and less acutely each year. She sounds like a great woman.