(A sneak peek at my holiday decor! Yes, I set it all up and took photos before we moved. And now I’m missing this room even more!)
As my little family grows, I become more and more sentimental around the holidays. I grew up in a home with few firm traditions. My father had to take the lead on family gatherings and celebrations and he grew up in near poverty so as a result, we kept things pretty simple. As a child, I was mostly in charge of making things “beautiful” and decorating– a job I naturally loved.
It wasn’t until my first year of college when I started dating someone seriously for the first time that I was exposed to what a home full of traditions was really like. My boyfriend at the time had a wonderful, warm, and welcoming family and an extremely talented mother who was not only an exceptional cook and decorator, but also a gifted artist. They were so kind to me and invited me to family gatherings and parties that first holiday season we were dating. I remember so vividly Christmas Eve dinner– with the most beautifully dressed table, gorgeous food including a prime rib that tasted even better than it looked, and dining on his mother’s Portmeirion China. They gave out traditional Christmas pajamas, played games, and I felt as though I was part of a movie scene for a moment.
That night I asked my boyfriend how his family was able to make the holidays feel so special. He told me that it was a conscious effort on the part of his parents to bring his family together for special times, as their extended family wasn’t as close. Every holiday that came around was just as special and celebrated as the last and I loved spending time with them all. They were a close clan, that family, and even now, many years after I stopped dating their son, his family is just as warm and loving toward me as they were all those years ago. They made a strong impression on me and have greatly impacted the mood I try to create in my home and also the way I entertain and celebrate the holidays.
They may seem like small and insignificant things to many– Christmas jammies, picking out a new ornament each year, serving the same thing on a certain holiday, putting that extra effort into setting the table– but to me they represent the love I feel for my family and the security I want my child (soon to be children– eeek!) to feel. I want them to know that our home is a safe haven and a place where fun and love exists in abundance.