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If Only In My Dreams.

This was the first year I read the lyrics to “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

My uncle sent them in an email to us, as it was our first year without him while also being our first Christmas with ALL five siblings together in a decade. More? less? The exact logistics, I do not know. The feelings? They meander. They move.

Christmas

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I’ll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

I didn’t drop the ball on Christmas this time, the way I thought I had with Halloween but I didn’t exactly know where my heart was this year. I just couldn’t locate it. It was like a pinball – shooting this way and that – into the past, the present, the future, the daydreams. Oh, the daydreams. I didn’t drop the ball on Christmas this year, but it crept up slowly and silently until it was just behind me. On my shoulder and screaming. It just came. And maybe we just grow and we say that. We say, “I can’t believe summer is over. I can’t believe it’s already Christmas.” Maybe we sound like broken records as our kids grow, and our hair grays. We just say it. No matter how often I have said it, it was particularly drastic this year. It wasn’t there and then it was there. And we did a lot along the way! Santa visits and train rides and songs and lights and movies and more.

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We did a lot! And still I searched for my heart. Were there two, like Doctor Who? Was it two sizes too small, like the Grinch?

I know I felt The Hollow. The Sunday Night-Itis. The gray. The gloom. The Gone Days. The end of vacation. The end of summer feelings. The end of childhood. The Squishy Feeling. And holy cow, did I have a lot of links to old blog posts to back up my feelings in this paragraph. Have you read them? Have you felt them? Or do you just think I’m a bit nutty now? That’s ok too.

I’m just learning my way. And then it changes.

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I was fully aware this Christmas of the passing of time. Scarlet is so in the thick of believing in magic and Santa. Des doesn’t even get it yet. He still gets to get it. I know I wasn’t crushed to learn about Santa, but that doesn’t mean other people won’t be crushed to learn. I was enlightened, actually, to learn that people all over the world keep his spirits and his actions alive. We tell his stories and cover his tracks and eat his cookies – saving just a bit of crumbs – and we leave carrots for reindeer. It’s a lot of work, to let our kids believe. Just a bit longer. To me, it’s not about lies. It’s about legends. It’s about magic.

They way it comes to be? It’s purely real. It’s real earth magic. I see no other way.

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This Christmas, you could say I got nostalgic for my own Christmas youth, but it’s more than that. It’s less than that. Nostalgia feels good to me. It carries with it power and weight and the feelings that you can actually touch the past. You can just reach your hands right into the pensieve and fall dizzily right into a memory. Into a world. A world you can touch and smell and maybe even change. Although I don’t know why you’d want to do that. Sometimes, mostly, everything is in its right place.

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And even when it’s not, and it’s often not, we move our places and spaces. We move ourselves this way and that.

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So maybe I was a bit moody and broody before and after Christmas Day. (maybe even during, shame shame) Maybe I just missed everyone who couldn’t be there. Maybe I was apprehensive about what’s to come in life and what’s to be asked of me, by myself of course. To climb this mountain ever more – to secure my career more firmly. To take trips, and like them. To be more present and less anxious when my kids are around. To not mutter bad words under my breath at other cars, other cats, my own cats, my own family. New Year’s resolutions, those. And to see moose. It’s kinda always about seeing moose.

And with that, I should say that Christmas had a lot of delight and wonder. We had so much going for us.. Things like:Festive food.

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Animals who got along, maybe 75% of the time.

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Really, really excited kids.

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Cookie making!

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A moment caught in the silent reflection of a stairway mirror.

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A morning that started before dawn.

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With waffles.

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And brisk outdoors photos.

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A spectacular Christmas Day sunset.

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With gold-flecked earth.

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And let’s not forget the photobombs. They were plentiful.

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And as night drew near..

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..there was some fantastic bonding.

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There was a fantastic impromptu dance party.

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There were fantastic eyelashes.

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And I even let my brother-in-law steal my camera for these two shots (and more):

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After the kids were in bed, we played Cards Against Humanity. And I laughed so hard I could barely take it.Did your Christmas feature any of the elements that made my Christmas so sweet?

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110 Comments

  1. Hmm, no, I think none of your features really were in my Christmas this year. But that’s o.k. It’s part of being a long way away from both of our families. Which is sad. But on the other hand it meant we had a lot of time for us. And, believe me, we were in bad need for that time. We enjoyed it immensely. And I cannot believe that in a few hours I’ll be going back to work again – sigh.
    Your photos are wonderful – thank you for sharing your family with us. The two photos that stand out for me: Of course – Athena, but also Scarlet hardly to be seen behind the mountain of presents – lol – I guess, just the way it is supposed to be these days.
    Have a wonderful week!

    1. It’s a little funny that Cassidy is at work today. His company does close for two weeks, though, so it’s just a one-day thing this week.
      My Christmas was a little funny, so I thought it would be a little random if anyone did share those things! Like dance parties and horse sunsets!
      The mountains of presents were insane. It’s not even that anyone went overboard. It’s just that we have such a big family, that even if all of the adults only get my kids one thing each, it’s still a mountain!

  2. I feel like I get much of the sentiment u shared in regards to your many feelings over the holiday. To me this year was very special and better than last year. Last year was surreal after being in vegas so many years so last year felt like a dream of sorts. This year I felt like a member of the family again and that is why it was so special to me. I also feel that we share a bond in our particular style of humor. We both have the same brand of cynicism and sarcasm which I love about us when we are able to spend precious time together. Love you sis.

    1. Love you, brother!!
      Well you’re definitely part of the family. Such things never change. I can understand how last year would’ve been weird, because it was so soon after so many years away. Every year is a little different. And every year seems to have a new baby! Just wait until next year.

  3. I’m so glad that so many family members were able to get together in NJ anf you were able to visit some of the places that were so very special to you! I celebrated Christmas at my house again this year. Some times I will make the rounds and visit as many relatives and dear friends as I can when I don’t have family coming to my house on Christmas Day, but I usually have a Decemberfest. A little family and friends get together at my house shortly before Christmas, or right about now during Christmas week. I like to call it a Decemberfest, and no really seems to mind. It was good for me not to have to travel from house to house. Your photos are lovely as always Tamara! Your blogs and Ask Away Fridays are very special, and filled with love and smiles, and colorful photos!

  4. You just totally made me shed a few years. Seriously, I have been having a bit of the blues today as we took our tree and decorations down so it made Christmas being over that much more real. As much as I complain about winter and the cold, I just love Christmas and all this time of the year brings. So, definitely is a bit more magical and can say ours was also amazing in its own way, but just wish it didn’t have to fly by this year so quickly (if that makes sense).

    1. We are totally twins! We always wait until January to take down our tree. Yesterday we just looked at each other and did it. It was just time. It’s nice to have that space back because our tree was the size of a skyscraper.

        1. It is funny! It was just feeling so crowded and so many new toys were too big this year. Suddenly we realized that the giant tree would open up a great space for the new train set.

              1. Aww me too. And excited to do it, but nervous to have workmen in my house for a few days making messes where they don’t exist now. I know it will be worth it though when all said and done.

  5. Oh those sunset photos are stunning. Really. I couldn’t really locate my heart this year either. It was weird and Christmas did sneak up this year and it was particularly drastic. I felt all those things – the Hollow, Sunday Night-Itis, the gray and gloom, the end of… feelings and the squishy feelings. They were all kind of bottled up together. But the thing that pulled me out of it was the magic in my kids’ eyes – they way they believe so fully from their heart in Santa and Christmas and all the good things. It looks like you had a wonderful family get-together filled with lots of laughs and love.

    1. It was pretty perfect. And I guess sometimes even that messes with my mind because it reminds me that it won’t always be that way. I don’t know why I can’t just enjoy everything!

  6. Beautiful, Tamara! Your photos are gorgeous. I just love a winter sunset. The impromptu dance party looked fabulous. The doggies and horses and the photo bombs, priceless. It’s natural to feel nostalgic on Christmas (I think). Now that my kids are grown, it’s even more melancholy. WE celebrated early which was great but also made me feel a little empty on Christmas Day. I can relate to those feelings you speak of. We have so much to look forward to in 2015! Great post!!

    1. True. I always look forward to the new year because of more light. And the fact that we will get fall, spring and summer all over again. But not in that order.
      It’s just a bittersweet, really.

  7. Christmas was wonderful. It has always been wonderful despite the many things we go through. We do what we can to make it magical for the kids. And maybe for us? Love the photos Tamara. Wishing you a lovely week!

  8. Through these pictures, i can share my family Christmas. They lessen the torture of being unable to be with you. Thank you for that! Also, the pictures of Athena are awesome!

    1. I’m so glad they lessened the torture! Athena is a really great photo subject. She’s actually the best of all of them but don’t tell them I said that.

  9. I always find it hard to get my head and heart around Christmas. So many things to love, especially through the eyes of my kids. No one really believes anymore, but we all keep the magic alive with our traditions and of course our desire to still be young and innocent and take in all the good that the imaginary represents. But the season also brings such sadness to me too. Grief for the moments that I should have my kids to share with and don’t. It’s in my face every year and I NYE expect it to come knocking — and it does. I guess it’s own tradition. Anxiety over the chaos and busyness of the season. Sadness over the commercialism and loss of Christmas spirit and meaning . Then even more grief and sadness for those who are alone, who struggle through the holidays missing loved ones or not even knowing what it’s like to miss a loved one. So Christmas Eve is my favourite evening of the year. Christmas Day? One of my least favourite days of the year. Christmas night? Hands down, my worst night of the year. Your pictures are gorgeous. Enjoy your babies and the magical time. Xoxo

    1. I’m sorry I never even really thought about those moments that you don’t have the kids. I think that would kill me too. And honestly sometimes life gets so tough that I even think of those scenarios, but luckily it stops there.

  10. I always find it strange, that despite the fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas, I always feel a bit disappointed when it’s over. I really enjoy the quietness of the day, that living in the city feels almost like living in the suburbs because it’s so calm and quiet around here. The relaxing and watching movies, because what else is there to do. It’s almost an escape from reality before everything returns to normal. It’s sad to think of it ending, and I can see how those feelings (and other feelings, because obviously we have different ones) can make it hard to be fully present.

    1. I think that’s interesting. Even if you don’t celebrate it, it does take over the world seemingly. It creates a certain atmosphere and things to expect.

  11. Dance parties are the best!

    This was the first year in a long time that we were with my parents. Normally it’s just us on Christmas. So I was glad we were able to see them.

    I do miss our Christmas tree. We took it down yesterday.

  12. I always feel a tad sad when all of it is over. The excitement, the anticipation, the preparations. I am not ready to take the tree down, but there will come a day here soon where it will make me sad that it is still up, so I will take it down then. Time really does go fast as we age. I don’t know why it is so drastically different from when we are little. It just is.

    1. You’re right. It just is.

      I was just saying above that we took our tree down yesterday. We have always kept it up into the new year. For some reason it was time yesterday.

  13. Oh to look out the window and see horses grazing on a cold winter morning! And OOOOHHHH to have those eyelashes. Yep, it comes upon us suddenly, passes in a whirlwind, and then its over. I’m always a bit blue when its over. The long, cold days of winter ahead. So I just think “spring is coming, spring is coming”…

    1. And it is! Even though for many people January is tough, for me it’s hopeful. The light starts coming back noticeably by the end of the month. And a new year means that we will once again have the three seasons that I actually like!

  14. As always, wonderful photos! I love you pinball analogy and can so relate. I feel the same way. There are some many ghosts of Christmas for me – the past, present and future. Happy New Year Tamara.

  15. Sounds like fun times! I have read those posts about your feelings! I’m guessing it was a good way to process those feelings at the time which is what I love about blogging.

  16. Your photos are beautiful! It sounds like you had a very magical Christmas. Ours was very different. I thought about blogging about it, but instead I blogged about New Years. Maybe there is still time! Happy New Year!

  17. When Des laughs? There is nothing more beautiful in the whole world! You got to spend Christmas in a beautiful place. While I did too, I’m still a little jealous.

    I have read your other posts, of course – I think we all fall in and out of the ease of life. I know I do. I couldn’t hardly take it when my 22 year old son decided to be somewhere besides here with us for parts of his Christmas break. It’s hard to accept when they just aren’t interested in spending their time with us. I mean – they all have other things to do and places to go and people to see, and I want them to have all of this. But I also want them to stay this-close-to-me. Forever.

    Giving them roots is so, so easy. Letting them use their wings is so difficult, it feels like someone is wringing all the life out of my heart.

    But they come back around again, even if only to disappoint with the news they only came for the rest of the pumpkin pie and more of their stuff. Every once in a great, great while – all five of them are gone at once for a whole day and we feel liberated. Isn’t that odd? When just one or two are gone it’s insulting, but when they are all gone? It’s so relaxing!

    Moral of the story: I’m at some level of crazy, too.

    1. I love that moral of the story. And Doctor Who would say that none of us are crazy. Were are all just really listening to the way the world works. And maybe railing against it at times.

  18. Seeing my kids play with their cousins was the highlight of my Christmas. They don’t get to see each other nearly enough, but (at least for now) they always seem to pick up right where they left off. I never had a close relationship with any of my cousins, so I hope they can keep that friendship going over the years.

    1. That happened here too! I didn’t get a lot of good photos of it because it was the time of day in which I wasn’t taking pictures. The cousins are fantastic.

  19. Lovely as always. I’m not usually a melancholy soul but I will say the post Christmas days have been a bit sad for me this year. I am finding all the decorations to be depressing. As if all is over… Getting old, I guess!

  20. Cards Against Humanity is the best game – it’s definitely my favorite. Esp when alcohol is involved. It’s always a good time. Man there are a buttload of gifts there lol share! JK Hope they had a wonderful Christmas 😛 I started reading your post 3 hours ago – that’s how distracted I get. I’m completely ADD this month, I can’t focus on one thing for more than 2 seconds. I’m going to start taking an entire month of December off of life haha just sleep and read and eat carbs. I spaced out right now – I think I need another nap, if that’s even possible. I must have slept 30+ hours this weekend combined. January is coming – time for my birthday, time to focus! 🙂 Happy Monday love glad you all had a great time and hope your family is doing well. Have a great one! -Iva

    1. There was a little alcohol involved in our game, but not me. Boo.
      You are funny. You should be a professional sleeper! Is that a thing? It should be.

      1. Boo! Join the fun! I love alcohol although, I can proudly say not an alcoholic haha I know my limits very well rarely pass 2 drinks but I love my whiskey and higher end vodka, it’s easier to drink even mixed. LoL I wish I could be a professional sleeper – high amounts of sleep can lead to raised cholesterol and BP but this is the time of year when I get to do this so I am forgiving. I’ve considered being a sleep technician but it doesn’t pay enough and it’s overnight work so double suck it. A sleep specialist is really just a neurologist which means medical school, again – nope. So I’ll enjoy being a sleep hobbyist and I’ll learn about it throughout my life. 🙂 Some things are best left as a hobby 😉

  21. I’m pretty darn excited about those moose pj’s!! we had waffles here — although not quite at dawn. I would have sent mine back to bed.
    I swear I can hear Des laugh coming right out of that shot. Since we got Just Dance with our new Xbox, there was definitely dancing here. And real disco style because we also got these colored water lights speakers that move with the music. So cool. I am 12 years old I swear it’s true.
    And I didn’t sweat or worry about a single thing this year. it wasn’t easy, not gonna lie — but I just surrounded myself with more Christmas music, more cookies, more lights, and the warm glow of gratitude. It was more than enough.

    1. That sounds like a way I’d like to be. And moose pajamas. I had a dream about them years ago. Way before I had kids or even a husband. And I have the adult version too of them too!

        1. Ok, I’m 34. I have time.
          I’m mostly kidding, but my husband is eight years older than me and sometimes when I see him do something like eat a snickers bar for dinner, I just think that I still have eight years of doing such things. At least eight years.

  22. Oh, Tamara… I think my heart just exploded all over this post. So many beautiful feels. What beautiful, magical moments you captured with your family. That’s really what the holidays are all about, right? Reliving your childhood, watching the wonder/excitement all over your children’s faces? I was just told this morning about how much work it is to keep the magic of Christmas alive for kids who start to question… and then I think, “oh but to keep it going just ONE.MORE.YEAR.” Thanks for sharing this. Also I really must play Cards against Humanity. Have heard so many funny things about this game 🙂

    1. It’s a really funny game. Not good if you offend easily!
      It is interesting to think of all of this on a time limit. You never really think of that before they believe. And during is about maintenance. And I don’t know what comes after.

  23. Such beautiful magic you captured during the holidays, and pure JOY! Isn’t that what this time of year is all about? ON a side note, I’m ADDICTED to holiday m&m’s….think I gained5 lbs!! Happy New Year my friend!

    1. Did you have the mint kind? My dad worked for M&M Mars throughout my whole childhood and young adulthood, so I’m very partial and discriminating with freshness and flavor!

  24. I love all of the memories you captured Tamara! I share your sentiments about the magic that Santa and everything related to Christmas brings! Scarlet’s hair has gotten so long…it’s beautiful! I love the sunset and the beautiful horse! Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks! We actually got her a trim recently but it was barely detectable. Now Des got a haircut that made me cry!
      I really do believe in Santa when you look at it this way.

  25. This post is pure magic!!! I did feel a little nostalgic this year also. I did have watery eyes as my kids were opening their gifts. They are getting older and I realized it on Christmas. I realized that this might be the last year I have three kids believing in the magic of Christmas! I tried my best to enjoy every moment! We had a wonderful day!

  26. Yes I think each year passes a little more quickly than the last. We had a great Christmas with family. We had lots of cookies and good food. Too much good food. Love all your impromptu dance parties and the great moments you captured.

  27. I’m kind of sad Christmas is over. The decorations come down, and people go their separate ways. There’s nothing quite like the special feeling of having everyone together.

  28. As I was reading I thought I was going to comment on the abundance of wrapping paper in that room on Christmas Day….but oh my that record collection just blew me away! How can you not have impromptu dance parties with that much music in the house? So glad to hear how much magic was present this year for Scarlet. T was full of it as well; and though L started December without a clue, you could tell she got it on Christmas morning. I hope that someday I won’t be crying out “I can’t believe it’s already school/Christmas/New Year/summer”, but sometimes trying to slow down and enjoy things is like trying to hold water in your hands. You can get a little bit, but so so much just slips past before you’re able to do anything about it. I hope you’re able to get some extra time with the family for New Year’s Eve and the days following!

    1. The wrapping paper was insane. We must have used like 17 trashbags. It’s not even that anyone went overboard. It’s just that when you have so many family members, even if they all buy my children just one gift each, it’s still insane.

  29. Christmas snuck up on me this year, and I never quite got fully into the spirit. Love all the pictures with your little ones – they make the season so magical. The tree at sunset looks like it’s on fire – and who doesn’t love a little horsey bomb! Wishing you a wonderful New Year – so glad to have found you!

    1. It’s interesting other people had that experience too. And last year was a really odd Thanksgiving because it coincided with Hanukkah. So Christmas seemed very fast after that!

  30. Looks like a fun Christmas –

    now that kids are older it loses the magic maybe – maybe if I have grandkids someday it will be more exciting – lol

  31. I loved all of this post but especially that series of pictures with Des laughing – one of the greatest things ever!!!
    Your dance party made me smile!
    We are going to bust out Cards Against Humanity tomorrow night at our NYE party – I’ve never played.

  32. The photos in this post made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I love that we get to create magic for our kids on Christmas. G still believes, as far as I know. But it may be one of our last years. Makes me sad, but I think he’ll move on to help continue the magic for Biz. Happy New Year!

  33. I totally got everything you said, you’re not nutty. I felt very similar, and seriously how DO these holidays and dates just sneak up on us like this? Always faster than the last year so we have to keep repeating ourselves I guess. Your Christmas looked lovely and you got so many beautiful shots. I hope you guys had a good one and I hope you have a fantastic 2015.

  34. Des looks SO GROWN UP HERE.
    I just bought Cards Against Humanity, and am organizing a dinner at my place with some friends just so we can play it!

    1. Oh yes. I want to hear about it. The first or second time people play is always best. Then you start needing expansion packs because hearing them for the first time is what is so funny.
      Anyway. It’s wonderful.

    1. It feels like forever, but I was just thinking that in three months, it will already be April. And we are going to Florida soon.
      I just got her a haircut, actually! It’s still so long.

  35. Merry belated Christmas! Such lovely photos that show such a nice Christmas. Ours was quiet, the group of visitors is getting smaller which made me nostalgic for Christmases of my youth also.

  36. Your Christmas sounds amazing. I like the feelings nostalgia brings; it’s Like reliving memories as experiences as much as one possibly can. I always feel like a broken record because I really can’t believe Christmas is over! Or 2013

  37. I love how you captured the laughter of Des! So genuine!
    I was rushing to get to 2015 that I didn’t even finish December on my 2014 planner! LOL

  38. We had the food. Definitely the food. But there’s always something that nags, that steals a little of the magic I remember of Christmas of my youth. I feel like I fail to make the magic like I had made for me.

    1. I understand that. Lately our Christmases have been like they were when we were little, with the added addition of four grandchildren. And then it does become magical.

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