I am in a new family with my husband and step-son. Before this family, I don’t even remember if there was a time as an adult that I bought and decorated a Christmas tree. This was always something that was special to me in my parent’s house and I continued to collect ornaments all those years, but it wasn’t until four years ago that I started decorating a tree as a new family event. As a couple, we’ve started collecting ornaments when we travel and to remember special events in our lives, and it’s turned out to be a really fun way to decorate our tree. From our honeymoon, we have the Eiffel tower, a scene from Eze, France and Monaco hanging on our tree. We have the Seattle Space Needle, a lighthouse with Santa from New Hampshire and a cute Hallmark ornament symbolizing the purchase of our home in 2013. Last year, we discovered a local holiday community event – A Boat and Light show at our nearby harbor. I decided this would be our new family holiday tradition. Boats were decorated in Christmas lights; there were lots of Santa hats, a large illuminated Rudolph and even someone dressed up as Bumble. Dogs were out and about, some of them dressed up too. Boat owners handed out cookies, hot chocolate, and other “special” drinks. There was even a boat with Christmas Carol Karaoke where every participant got to walk away with free crab. After experiencing one of my favorite Christmas events ever, this had to be our new tradition! This year, I made sure all of our calendars were cleared so that we could go again. Then an undesirable holiday tradition swooped in and I quickly realized I had the flu. My very own Grinch was holding me hostage and taking away the joy of Christmas. I was in bed the entire day leading up to the event. I kept thinking that maybe if I stayed there all day, I would have the strength to go out and see the lights reflecting off the water and enjoy the holiday buzz. My plan didn’t work so well and I had to admit that I was still in the midst of a viral takeover. However, I thought if I could just get over there for thirty minutes and get some fresh air and see some of the event, then I would feel like our new tradition still existed. I bundled up, even though I was too hot with a fever and felt like shorts and a t-shirt would have been more appropriate, and we headed out. As the event followed the West Coast Stormageddon’14, the show was a lot quieter this year, but I was very happy that we made it. My husband had to stay close to me to ensure I didn’t fall over into the water or face-plant on the docks in my flu-fever stupor, but the three of us were a team and while they held me up with the flu, we held on to our new holiday tradition.
“Happiness is a warm puppy” – Charles M. Schulz
It is not easy going through the holidays when I thought I would get to enjoy it while pregnant and sharing this news with family. I had counted out the weeks and realized that the timing would work out for us to share the news with friends right after the New Year. And my mind had already fast-forwarded to the next Christmas where we would celebrate with ornaments saying “Baby’s first Christmas” (times two). So now, as I continue to recover from this abrupt change in plans, I’ve tried to focus on other things that I can still appreciate and be happy about as Christmas approaches. One of which is my new found hobby of dressing up my dog for the holidays and attempting to take photographs. I was very successful at this endeavor when I dressed her up as a skunk for Halloween, so I did not hold back when I purchased three different Christmas outfits. I learned a couple of important lessons this weekend: My dog has a two-wardrobe change limit and she is the one directing the photo session, not me. She shall sit or lie down where she pleases and any desired location change on my part requires many treats. I probably took over 150 photos and ended up with four that I could use for our holiday card this year. Not bad. I was very pleased that these four ended up with the Christmas tree in the background (kind of) and that her costumes remained in tact and were not torn to pieces. The photo shoot was a great distraction for me this weekend while trying to relieve myself from sadness and disappointment. She gave me these looks like she was perplexed but willing to tolerate it; as if she sensed somehow that I needed this silliness to happen. So she did and she made me happy.
Photo by CJE