Monday, November 29, 2010

the most wonderful time of the year?

As per usual, Christmas has exploded across the country. Every year, before our turkeys can even speak their last gobble, we are gearing up for the next holiday. It always feels so rushed to me, except for this year. Our house is intentionally devoid of any sprigs of evergreen, jingling bells or sparkly snowflakes. Half out of convenience and half out of holiday avoidance, Alex and I scheduled our 8 day honeymoon to fall over Christmas break. His work ethic, handed down through the generations of his family, only allowed us to take a few days in Vermont after our wedding last month. We do have the luxury of Alex's 16+ weeks of vacation time he gets every year so I wasn't too disappointed.

This December instead of spending our holiday shuttling around the eastern seaboard in an attempt to spread our love (way too thin) amongst far too many family abodes, we will be heading off to the glorious island of Antigua. Here (below) is the unbelievable resort where we will be relaxing instead of packing our car to the brim with hand wrapped presents, allergen-free casseroles, our sanity, and bags filled with books and DVDs to occupy the many moments we've escaped to hide in a guest room somewhere. Yes, we will be holding on tight to our sanity this year, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

I have to say, the holidays seem to cause more anxiety, stress and exhaustion than they do joy and least in my family. There is always the battle over where the event will be held, who will go to which house on what day and for how long, the lists of gift requests that you know you are going to be guilted into buying, but can't actually afford, the awkward moments with relatives or family friends that you inevitably face no matter how hard you try to avoid, the arguments over what to cook because every member of the family has different diet restrictions and food allergies. There are also all the elephants in the corner of every gathering....without a doubt someone has lost a job, ended a relationship, gotten into some kind of trouble, been single for too long, had a falling out with someone sitting at the table across from them that was never actually resolved, passed out at the dinner table from the combination of the wine and the Xanax they needed to take just to get through the holidays. I also find that in my case, being a 30-year old newly married woman, there is the lovely new struggle of overbearing parents who can't quite let go of their "babies." My blood pressure has risen just writing this.

So, instead, I will be enjoying the view from my balcony in Antigua this year.

I am looking forward to spending my days running in the warm sand, snorkeling in the turquoise water, exploring the island, enjoying a massage for two on the beach at sunset, dancing the night away with my incredible's going to magic!

Although, I will feel a slight nostalgia for the pieces of the holidays that I do enjoy, like visiting our warm, cozy house in Maine. It is always buried in deep snow by December, which gives you all the reason in the world to hunker down by the fire, watch the ocean roll in and out over the ice-covered rocky beach, drink hot cocoa to your heart's content, cook and bake the day away, and play some board games with your family.

Our house in Boothbay Harbor, Maine

How much do you love the porthole window??

Something else I will miss: my dad's week-long display of Christmas sweaters and socks.

I will also hold a soft spot in my heart for the Christmas season, because it is when Alex and I fell in love two years ago, and it is when he proposed to me last year. The first thing we did when we arrived at the Maine house last Christmas was pop open a bottle of champagne and toast our engagement. It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life!

Such a blurry, poor quality picture (please excuse!), but it was difficult to capture the night Alex proposed to me given my hands wouldn't stop shaking and the apartment was pitch black, aside from a trail of tiny candles. Love him!

I hope you all survive the next month of holiday preparations (that is if you celebrate)!

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