The month of December is racing to a close, pausing just long enough to let us take a breather and celebrate Christmas. Naturally, my mind turns back to all those times when Christmas was a time to head home to family. Now, much of that family seems to be on the pages of my genealogical research projects. Still, that doesn't keep me from wishing to recreate that magical holiday feeling.
The holidays will be a little different for our family, this year. We're actually celebrating Christmas today, as travel plans will take one of our family members away from home for December 25. I guess I've done my fair share of that sort of holiday celebrating, as well—like when my husband's twenty-four/seven work schedule required somebody to be on duty, even on holidays when he'd rather be home on daddy duty as father of a bright eyed youngster. Still, we learned to be flexible; the wonder of Christmas can be even as bright for a child when the holiday dinner is served at a fire station and the other on-duty personnel (and their families) are invited to join in.
Remembering all these Christmases past prompts me to think of just what my ancestors might have been up to during the year-end holiday season. Life can often be messy, and I imagine our ancestors learned to be flexible, too. I know Christmas after The Crash was probably a much more modest event for the preceding generations in my family—not to mention the restraint demanded of our ancestors who chose the path of migrating to a new life, whether it was across the prairie or across an ocean.
Over this weekend, I imagine there will be many people who will not only get that nostalgic home-for-the-holidays feeling, but will take action, jump in the car, catch a train, or fly home for the week. While we were down in southern California for our early holiday festivities, I noticed signs posted on the freeway, warning everyone of the impossible traffic to come, starting this weekend. There are a lot of us who want to head home for those holidays, and there are likely as many reasons for that desire as there are families. No matter what the reason, though, there is no place like home, when that is where our family is.
Above: "Christmas Eve," 1880 lithograph by J. Hoover of Philadelphia; courtesy of U. S. Library of Congress via Wikipedia; in the public domain.