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December 19, 2020

Creating Christmas

by Paden Hughes

When Michael and I celebrated our first Christmas together with my family, he would describe it as if he had walked into the American version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

He came from a family that was more quiet. The kind of family that brought a bundt cake to the party. The Hughes version of Christmas was mellow and quiet with a couple of family traditions. Nothing has to happen particularly, but anything can happen if you make it. The playlist alternates between country and Christmas, and only the in-laws seem to notice. The vibe is: Go with the flow.

I come from a family that cares a lot about setting the right mood through a detailed aesthetic. The food is ceremonious, as are the games, the movies…. everything is very planned out and participation is required by all. The Followwill version of Christmas is filled with traditions, lots of ceremony and every detail is thought out and planned. The vibe is “all or nothing.”

We both liked our versions of Christmas.

But how to blend two very different experiences into one new hybrid version? That’s easier said than done.

We did what I imagine many of you did, and sat down and thought about what made Christmas feel special to each of us. It’s similar to that list you may have made as a single person when you were trying to manifest your future spouse…. the Must Have and the Nice to Have list.

We boiled down the list, and outside of my need for eggnog, corny Christmas movies and foodie requests…. we summed it up to this:

For Christmas to feel special we need:

to be surrounded by family and the people we most love
to enjoy good food without stressful prepping
to enjoy time in the snow or somewhere festive
to have one fun activity to do during the day that brings us outside as a family
In short… memories.

What we ultimately learned after we had trimmed the fat and got down to the core of it, the holiday season is about savoring what matters most to you. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa…. this time of year is about love and remembrance.

This year, our Christmas will be more simple than prior years. But we will still be surrounded by our sweet family unit, good food and a focus on making beautiful memories. Because if there is one thing 2020 has not changed… it’s how important it is to create good memories that outshine any backdrop.

May your holiday season be filled with the core elements you cherish most. May you find a way to carve out sweet memories and enjoy the very best things in life.

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