I want you to make sure you first feel comfortable and welcome in our home. Holidays are for family–whether it’s the family you were born into or the family you create.
I warn you that the holidays are certainly an EVENT here. Charlie, my 3 and a half year old, has been singing Christmas songs DAILY since he turned two, so it’s been tough to hold out and not play them until December. I hope you are okay with nonstop rounds of Jingle Bells and as Charlie says “You Better Not Pout!” (Personally, I prefer to listen to Christmas music from The Jackson Five, the Temptations, Harry Connick, Jr. and Stevie Wonder but I’m always interested in adding more to the mix–you are welcome to contribute your favorites or perhaps we can discover some new ones together.)
If you were here, we’d definitely be planning some movie nights to watch Elf, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my personal favorite, the animated, stop motion Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie from the 60s. I sometimes identified with the redheaded doll from the Island of the Misfit Toys and Hermey, the Christmas Elf who just wanted to be a dentist (feeling like I didn’t fit in). That movie reminds me to look out for the overlooked and see the value and recognize the identity of each individual.
We also celebrate Hannukah here with lighting the Menorah and going to a party of adopted friends and family at my in-laws. Although I’m not Jewish, I’ve been working on my Jewish baking skills. I’ve gotten latkes, matzoh ball soup and babka down, but perhaps you could help me nail a brisket recipe or, better yet, we could make a copycat of those gorgeously decorated dreidel and menorah sugar cookies I saw at Williams-Sonoma. (With my art skills, this would probably be a big Pinterest fail, but it’s certainly a dream to be able to recreate those.)
I feel very fortunate that when I was a teen about to start college, my mom sat me down and said “I want you to know that your dad and I love you and will always accept you. It’s okay if you–or any of your siblings, for that matter–are gay. We don’t ever want you worrying that you won’t be loved.”
My LGBTQ friends always joked that it was wasteful to pair such accepting parents to a straight kid, but I want you to know it gave you a fiercely loyal ally and advocate and it means you’d have a warm and loving home to come to. We spend Christmas Eve and Day with them. Christmas Eve is time with our extended family (all the aunts and uncles and my grandmother from my dad’s side) and Christmas Day is with my brother and sister at my parents’ house. It’s crowded and loud and we used to listen to the Christmas music QVC played (yes, the shopping channel) until my mom figured out there was a Christmas music station on the TV. There will be lots and LOTS of teasing and joking and laughter. Maybe even some games. Definitely with lots of my mom’s Christmas cookies (she probably makes a dozen or so different kinds).
I don’t know about you, but I also like to take advantage of some quiet during this season to reflect–I like doing that early in the morning while it’s still dark with the Christmas tree lit or on New Year’s night after all the hustle and bustle from the holidays has passed. Whether you’re 17 or 70, I think it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come and where you hope to go. For me, this year was a bumpy one and I learned the lesson that “progress not perfection” is the way to go. I’ve been looking at my circle of friends and family and identifying who lifts me up, supports me and helps me be a better person. My hope for you is that you also can identify these people and have the foresight to invest your time and energy into those people while letting the energy vampires in your life take a back seat for a bit. After all, that’s what you deserve.
Oh… and one last thing… Santa is bringing Charlie a set of drums for Christmas. So you may want to bring your earplugs. If you don’t have any, I suspect Santa could wrap some up for you.