Below is a guest post from one of my favorite blog reads, Frugal Portland.
Hi friends! Erika was kind enough to allow me to write something in her space. She’s super nice. In fact, she’s one of the first people who was ever nice to me online! You don’t forget those people. If you’re new at blogging, you think you’re in it alone, typing out into the ether. But then, a friendly voice comes through. It makes all the difference. So, thanks! Join the discussion on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter.
I’m celebrating Christmas this year, in a big way. Bigger than I have ever celebrated before. I bought a tree, I bought all the trimmings that go on the tree, I bought lights, I’ve decked the halls, and I have an elaborate meal planned. There are reindeer-themed things everywhere you look and lights on the patio.
In the past, I’ve celebrated small, or not at all. For a while in my 20s, I dated an Orthodox Jewish guy who celebrated by going to Chinese food and a movie. Then there were a few years where instead of putting up decorations, I got to travel with my family to exotic destinations. Then, of course, there were the debt years, where every single purchase on my credit card was laden with guilt (read more about credit card debt on debtconsolidation.com).
This year, though, I’m not traveling. I’m not having Chinese food (although I still might go to the movies!). I’m just celebrating, in a big way. And here’s why.
I’m not in debt anymore
This is the first year since college (wow) that I don’t have any debt. I paid off my student loans. I paid off my car loan. Read about the other things on my 2013 love list I’ve accomplished here. I have a mortgage, but I’m comfortable with that. It’s not considerably more than rent was, and hey, I have to live somewhere, right?
I have a new home
I bought a condo this year (read about that here, if you want!). The condo is brand new, and it’s time to start introducing it to holiday traditions. Hey, condo, you look pretty sweet with a big tree in your living room. Oh and you have a mantle where I can hang my stockings with care! Awesome.
I live with my sister
My little sister and I are living together, and she moves out at the end of this month. It’s important to me to start holiday traditions in Portland, with my sister, so she always knows she has a place to go back to (complete with a stocking) every year.
My boyfriend is moving in (eek!)
Sister out, boyfriend in. I’m as sad about her leaving as I am excited about him moving in. it’s a real mixed bag, I tell you what! But we’re building a home together, and that home is the kind that celebrates Christmas, okay?
It’s my job now
My mom passed away at the end of August (here’s the text of the eulogy). She loved the holidays. Thanksgiving was her favorite, for sure, but Christmas was a very close second. My dad isn’t going to decorate now that she’s gone, and I’m the oldest daughter. I feel her in the decorations and traditions we’re starting.
I’m hosting Christmas dinner
And you can’t host Christmas dinner without having a Christmasy home! What’s a prime rib if there aren’t any decorations up? Still delicious, I’m sure, but not a Christmas dinner.
To hedge against sadness
The holidays are hard when you’re missing someone you lost. But you know what? I think the twinkling lights go a long way toward “keeping spirits bright” and I’m doing the best I can.
If I’ve learned anything at all this year, it’s that life doesn’t always (ever) go the way you plan. But you can look for reasons to be happy, or you can look for reasons to be sad. I miss my mom every day, and I always will. But it’s better to do things she loved than to skip them altogether. When we go look at lighted ships, we’ll be smiling through our tears. But that’s better than sitting at home doing nothing, wishing we could do those things with her.
So I’m going big.