The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t 2020 edition

This holiday like everyone else’s was a little different than normal. I’ve done a FaceTime Christmas before when I was living in China, where I watched as family and friends enjoyed Dominican faire and music. It was pre-covid but I guess I was a little prepared to watch others’ festivities like I was watching a hallmark movie.

This year, however was the first since my daughter was born that we weren’t able to go back to my parents for Christmas. And what a disappointment that was. My mother is a Christmas super fan and she wants the world to know. From the tree trimmings to the deer decorating the lawn, my mother displays the seasonal joy from the inside to the outside. She even had Christmas masks this year! She’s legit!

I’m not that enthused- generally although I enjoy the decorations and the ongoings. It’s a lot to fit so much cheer into one month, especially when the other 11 months haven’t gone so great.

This is how I felt realizing I had to do Christmas this year.

But while I missed my mother’s exuberance I also wanted to do something for my family. Half of which had never celebrated Christmas on their own and had only celebrated it once before with my family in 2019. So the expectations were pretty low.

For me, I knew Christmas with my family couldn’t be touched but there were still some things I wanted to share.

To me, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. When the holiday movies start, the tree goes up and the radio blasts carols 24/7. While this year all of those things happened- the timeline seemed a bit off with holiday celebrations beginning much earlier.

Lucky for us, our tree was not bought in advance and so it didn’t arrive until the first week of December. Crisis averted. Although in my head, glitter ornaments seemed like a good idea- I strongly advise against it, especially with a handsy toddler. Let’s say those sparkly ornaments had to be rearranged towards the top of the tree. As well as the candy canes because once she learned they were candy, they were done for.

There were some traditions that I almost forewent until the mom guilt parade strolled in and I made a quick stop to the store to get some stocking stuffers. Presents weren’t really a thing this year, not because they weren’t bought but remember my other half had never celebrated Christmas on his own and as soon as presents were delivered he decided to open them so our daughter could play with them. And what kind of grinch would I be to take that joy away from them?

Case in point stroller and ride-a-long known as early Christmas presents

But stockings were definitely more than enough. I mean we’re three adults including grandma because of Covid and there was nothing we really needed. It was more for the simple act of opening something on Christmas Eve, when my family traditionally opens presents.

I also maintained some of the food traditions with a Sancocho, Dominican stew, and pastelitos, Dominican empanadas, all made by me! I have never felt more in touch with my mother than after spending the whole day in the kitchen while everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. I understand the pain now Mami, of putting on a holiday feast. Luckily we weren’t many.

My Sancocho with lotus root and pastelitos and plantain chips, tostones

It may not have been pretty but I did it and that’s what matters!

While I missed my mother’s extravaganza of a holiday party, I didn’t miss the crowds of people. Instead, we spent the evening truly enjoying our time together (after a heated discussion on the meaning of Christmas), partaking in small kindnesses with those we love.

It may have seemed different but I don’t think it really was all that different, not in what really matters. Family, love, and a small gift or two.

From our family to yours,

Happy Holidays

Yours in kind,

Published by JSantana

Obsessed with Intentional Inclusivity and Fierce Belonging. Delivering Culture-Driven Leaders.

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