Happy 2024!

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Christmas is a big shindig for my family.  The festivities start on Christmas Eve – often with a themed party with attendees donned in ugly sweaters – and extend to the following day, through a breakfast feast, presents, a nice dinner, games, drinks, laughter, and ultimately ending with us crashing in front of a holiday movie with some pie and eggnog.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Over the years, the family has grown and branched onto separate paths of their own, but this house has held them all.  Every year has seen us – no matter the distance – coming home to this place of warmth, family, and wild shenanigans.  It’s my favorite time of year, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

But as the years progress, changes are inevitable.  My brother has missed a few years due to work, and my sister’s family won’t be here for the first time.  It certainly isn’t the same without them, but we still have a blast with those who do make it, and we know those who can’t are here in spirit.  Someday, there will come a day when we can’t be here, ourselves.  It’ll be different, and I’ll miss the big family, but we’ll grow it into our own traditions and forge a new path.

This year might be our last in the house my parents have had since I was in middle school.  My parents have retired, and they’re looking to move.  Fortunately, it’ll be to a place closer to us.  They’ll be in a new house without these memories I’ve nurtured for so many years, but their being closer means I can visit more frequently.  All of the Easters and Thanksgivings, birthdays, and spontaneous camping trips – all of the little things I’ve missed since moving out of state – those will return to our lives.  These are the things my life has been lacking, and I am excited to have those I love back in my day-to-day.

I love my family, and it’s difficult to see it change.  But I know we have amazing times ahead, even if they aren’t in my childhood home.  And I know I won’t always get to see my entire family for the holidays, but I treasure the moments we get, and I’m hopeful for the future adventures, changes and all.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Merry Christmas, from me to all of you!

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