I think for the most part, most of us make Christmas plans, then we simply follow through.
Then there are those that may tweak ‘the rules’ a little here or there… maybe either to change things up to introduce some new traditions or because changing circumstances require it.
Changing up Christmas traditions can be a little unsettling. It breaks the ‘standards’ and brings up a bunch of unknowns.
I’m not new to changing up traditions.
When my mom first passed on, she was my best EVERYthing, so her missed presence really brought me down for a number of years. So much so, I didn’t even want to be home at Christmas. In fact, I was miserable the years I was.
Read about our Disney adventures HERE
So one year, my son and I packed up our bags and head for Disneyland.
Oh, it was EPIC! Does my smile not say it all?! I mean, you can’t not have fun there. And of course, decorated to the HILT. No one does decor (or even falling snow… ) like Disney.
But fair warning… egads it was busy… as in, the busiest time of the year there. We ended up working around it ok and even got on some rides without any lineups!
You can read how we survived Christmas at Disney HERE
No regrets AT ALL. In fact, I’d do it again. One of the best memories ever.
Some days we were so tired, we stayed at the hotel, ordered in food and watched Harry Potter marathons in between dips in the hotel’s hot tub. That was actually one of our best days there!
Another time I ventured off to Hawaii for Christmas on my own.
I quite honestly needed AND wanted it due to family stuff going down at the time. I just needed my mind on awesome. And it really, really was.
Right down to Christmas day. I was making these sand snowmen with grass shirts all over the beach and the amount of pictures others took of them were countless. So. Fun! So. Joy-filled!
As you can see, some of my best Christmases were due to last minute changes in plans.
With most recently, this Christmas too.
While staying at home.
The plans changed where I was no longer hosting, but rather, going elsewhere Christmas afternoon.
That left the AM wide open and clear and on my own with two cats. Whatever would I do?!
Then Christmas AM hit. And I honestly did whatever I would normally do. I flicked on all the lights, turned on Burl Ives, brewed a fresh pot of coffee, then sat and enjoyed my view of all the twinkling lights.
Only this time, I did it just for me.
My neighbour Janette had dropped by Christmas eve with a few presents for me (isn’t she an ANGEL?) so even had something to unwrap!
Christmas day happened to be a spectacular day. The weather was full-out sunshine, so I decided, why not hit the bike trail? I wasn’t due to go anywhere for awhile yet…
So I did!
As you can see, it was a STUNNING ride. (Some of these pictures were also taken Dec 30)
But here’s the best part… there were SO MANY people walking the trail on Christmas Day. I had NO idea it was such even a thing!
And naturally, everyone that passed you wished you a Merry Christmas.
Isn’t that just so beautiful? I heard and said it dozens of times.
At one point, the beauty and gratefulness was too much to manage… I hopped off the bike to stare at a pretty view and a feeling of overwhelm took over.
Teary eyed, I heard myself say, “This is the nicest Christmas morning I have EVER had!”
And I meant every word.
This AM was all about something special I loved to do, and being spoken to by other adults that were equally as joyful.
Later that day, Christmas continued on. And it was lovely too.
But I will say this.
It’s been years since my mom passed, and this was the first Christmas I was perfectly fine staying at home. Even all alone.
Wow. How did I even get there?!
I don’t exactly know what’s different. Time of course likely played a part in this. But I think I just had to allow myself to drop all expectations and accept what came.
And give something special to myself. And that was this bike ride.
At one point when I rode the trail, I came by this gorgeous Christmas wreath. Bending down to remove the littered beer bottle for the picture, I realized the bottle was full. It was meant to be a gift for someone to find while they sat down on this very bench to enjoy this beautiful day.
With a full-out smile, I placed it back for another to discover. I was already on an epic high and didn’t need even one thing extra to improve it.
Click above to view a very unfancy, non edited version of my rides over the Christmas season so you can also capture the essence.
I think it’s perfectly normal to feel super unsettled or disappointed when life changes dictate that traditions may change too.
So if you’re in the middle of revolving parts that don’t seem to have a permanent home yet, I really get it. I’ve been there many MANY times in fact.
But I’m also here to tell you that one day, you’re going to wake up, and say, “Who cares if it isn’t the same?! THIS ‘new way’ is amazing!” Or dare I say… even better?
Let down your guard, drop expectations, accept the changes…
… and do something that brings YOU joy.
I have no idea what next year will bring yet… but my eyes will be wide open to whatever comes.
No matter what. OR where.
And with that, Happy New Year, friends. Let’s own it this round… agree?
Have you ever had to change traditions? How are you making out now?
NEW travel section: Read more trail rides with stories HERE