Holding Space

With Shelly Vaughn


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The older I get, the more I appreciate the magic of Christmas- the way that everyone is reminded of and talking about the birth of Jesus; that special feeling of anticipation as people prepare for celebrations; giving treats and gifts to special people in our lives; acknowledging those who might be struggling and helping when we can; and carrying on traditions that we’ve had since we were young, and some that we’ve just started since having our own children.

We decided when the girls were babies that we wanted them to wake up at our house on Christmas morning. We wanted to keep that special time for our little family with all of the Christmas Eve preparations (which also now includes candlelit church service) and watching our girls squeal with excitement in our house on Christmas morning- making our home part of the memories. With all of our family members living in PA, this means that every year part of Christmas eve is spent packing and preparing to leave town. And Christmas morning is a whirlwind of excitement here then wisking off to PA to start two other celebrations. Admittedly, it’s hard. But I wouldn’t change it for anything because we’re getting the best of both worlds- Memories in our home as our own family but also with extended family where the girls are making new memories of playing with cousins at their grandparents’ houses. I realize the value of both of those things- especially this whole past year as I was beautifully reminded by my own cousins how precious and meaningful the bonds made at “Grandma’s house” can be.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our celebrations. I loved every minute of it. Some of my favorite gifts included a bluegrass record that my neighbor recorded when I was young- I remember listening to it all the time at home. And an “11” shirt from Stranger Things… of course. But my favorite of everything was that Trisha and my parents worked very hard to make our childhood home ready for a family “Christmas at Millersdale”. Sometimes a home makes Christmas; sometimes Christmas makes a home- both ways are equally magical.

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