Still Christmas. Just Different.

As I write this, thinking about family gatherings in this holiday season, I wonder if our current ways of getting together is our new norm.

This past Thanksgiving, we introduced Dad to Zoom. While I finished dinner preparations, he sat with my laptop and chatted with my son and daughter, and their children (his great-grandchildren), for nearly two hours. When it was all over, he asked, "Do I need internet for that?"

He cut off internet in his house not longer after my mom passed. She was the computer person of the duo. Now, he's contemplating putting it back in. I fired up Mom's old laptop the other day to see how it was running (just fine) so perhaps by Christmas we will have Dad zoomed up into the 21st century again.

We'll see.

When you think about it, why do we have to wait for a holiday to have those virtual family gatherings? My children/grandchildren live a state away. We should be doing this more often.

Same thing with gift-giving.

This year, I decided to tackle the 12 Days of Christmas gift idea. Now, I know there are many beliefs that surround the 12 Days of Christmas, religious ones that put the 12 days starting December 25--but in my world, I decided to lead up to the holiday. I'd box up and mail a package a day--one to my son's family and one to my daughter's--that represented each of the days. You know, partridge in a tree and all that. But what to send? Just ask Google.

Seriously. There are so many ideas out there! Like this one, that gives you ideas with direct links for each day. Or this Pinterest board, with ideas aplenty. My gifts weren't super elaborate. Some where even silly. Candy was added occasionally and some home-made cookies. And every box, of course, had the appropriate day Christmas tree ornament. If you decide to tackle this idea, have fun shopping! 

But then there is the downside. Before I knew it, Amazon had delivered and my dining room was full of boxes! Only good thing about all those deliveries were the actual shipping boxes they came in. It took me about a week to organize, wrap, rebox, and line them all up, ready to ship. And then came the secondary expense I hadn't really thought about--shipping! (consider this, please, in your holiday gift-giving budget, if you choose to do this!)

But all in all, the gifts are mostly on their way now. The grandchildren have started receiving and opening. I get pictures from my son with this four girls digging into the boxes. Lots of smiles there. My fourteen-year-old grandson, in the other family, lamented, "Is this really what we are getting for Christmas this year from Mimi?" His older sisters (15 and 16) thought it was cute and fun. My daughter is already making plans to do this when her kids all move out.

To be honest, this all cost way more than what I normally would spend for Christmas gifts for my family--but it was worth every penny. I needed it as much as they did. Just as I needed to fix a traditional Thanksgiving meal, even if it was only for my Dad and me, I needed to do something "normal." Needed the tradition, and maybe the excitement, of starting a new one.

Yeah. Maybe, the new norm. Again, we will see. 

I hope your holiday celebrations are safe, happy--however you decided to celebrate them! Snuggle up by the fire (if you have one) but just make sure to give your loved ones a hug and spend some time together.