When your growing up Christmas is a magical time. All you think of is the presents, time out of school, and yummy treats. The magic is all around and you have all the faith in the world. As you grow up and realize the effort it goes into the magic. The time spent running around to stores, cooking, preparing, traveling, etc. All these things you still do because of the eyes of the children who look back at you the same way you did when you were a child to your parents.
This year has made me stop and think back to a lot of the traditions we used to have when I was growing up. As a military family sometimes not everything can go the way you want it to. The days of hopping from family member to family members house on Christmas and having big family dinners have all but faded into history. Now your lucky if your within 500 miles of home if you are even on the same side of the world. So traveling back isn't always as easy as it used to be. Because duty days still exist. Stand down doesn't necessarily mean you get the time off you want when there are so many in the same situation in your unit. They have kids too so you understand when they want the time off just as much as your husband or wife. But when you stop and think about it Christmas traditions may evolve but never truly change.
The family meals with family gathering around talking about old times are simply replaced with "famliy" meals. The meals with your military family gathered in whoever is house is hosting it this year. Your still with family so that hasn't changed. You just have people gathered around you may not have grown up with. The scene is still the same though. Women gathering around the kitchen bringing in dishes of homemade goodies. Talking about this and that, mostly shopping and kids. The men gathering around the TV watching whichever game is on, swapping stories of the good ole days and all the war stories. Kids running around playing and laughing trying to sneak treats from the kitchen. So things may have changed a bit but essentially the same.
The life has it's ups and downs. No one ever said being a military family would be easy. If it was everyone would do it. But those that do have a few things many people would never imagine. We have family everywhere we go. Because no matter where the military takes you you are always part of a family that embraces you. You have decorations on your tree from your children and those who are like nieces and nephews even if they may have no blood relation. Your card collection goes up each year as you either move or change duty stations because each new duty station presents another set of new family members.
So as much as we try to preserve old traditions we truly have been blessed with our own unique ones. While we may have our own traditions for our families that we do have the ones we share are just as special. Including others in our lives is an important part of the holiday season isn't it? After all the reason we celebrate is because a child was born to share himself to such an extent that we would have a reason to celebrate for centuries to come. Sharing, caring and giving of ourselves is part of what makes the season so special.
So while our families may be far and our traditions may be sometimes not what we expect. They are just what they are supposed to be. Time spent with people we love and care about celebrating a special time. So no matter where you are or what you are doing from our family to yours Merry Christmas! May 2012 be a year of great blessing for each and everyone. Even if I don't know you personally you are part of our family because we are all in this life together. Thank you for sharing your time with us. God bless!