What I didn’t do this Christmas

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I didn’t:

  • Spend time with my family (a hemisphere away) or my husband’s family (6 hours away)
  • Attend a holiday party
  • Have a big special dinner
  • Eat Christmas cookies
  • Decorate
  • Unwrap gifts
  • Sing Christmas carols
  • Travel
  • Feel like being social
  • Have any holiday spirit whatsoever

I did:

  • Sleep late
  • Go to church
  • Make latkes
  • Video Skype with my parents and grandparents
  • Cry
  • Work on a new project I’m super excited about
  • Secretly download an album from Christian’s favorite Israeli singer onto his mp3 player
  • Clean the house
  • Eat panettone
  • Think about how next year will be better
  • Cecilia Butcher

    It is hard the first Christmas away from family but you do need
    to start your own traditions

    Merry Messiahmas

    • Shayna

      Yes, I am looking forward to starting our own traditions – right now it’s like a blank slate…

  • We missed you (and Christian) – took lots of pics (and a little video) for you. We initiated Duane into our holiday celebration, complete with menorah lighting, dreidel playing, and chaotic gift opening.

    How did your latkes turn out? Did Christian like them?

    • Shayna

      They turned out really well! Grating the potatoes by hand wasn’t too bad – but then, I only did a few. Christian liked them.

  • shmily

  • Awwww….you cried. 🙁 You have the strength of 2 traditions…I know you leaned on that to get through.

    It is an abrupt feeling, being half a globe away, can’t just jump in the car or on a cheap flight to dash home.

    Sending love and merriness to you!

    • Shayna

      I think it wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d been “adopted” into Christian’s family celebration – but they don’t really do one! Maybe we’ll be the ones to start a new tradition of family gathering. Thanks so much for the love, hope your holiday is wonderful 🙂

  • I woke up Christmas morning with a cold 🙁 – the hardest thing for me is not being with my mom, she absolutely loves Christmas and I feel guilty being so far away.

    I am curious about the blend of religions in your nascent family – have you written any posts about that? My apologies for being too lazy to check for myself. And of course it may not be a topic you blog on, which I understand entirely.

    • Shayna

      Ugh, hope your cold gets better soon.

      I’ve written about the basics of my faith here, and then here are some reflections on Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Shabbat. We alternate between attending a Messianic Jewish congregation in Barra and a Baptist church in Barbalho. As for the practicalities of day-to-day stuff, observing holidays, etc. – we’re still figuring that out!

  • I think the 2nd list, of things you did, sounds a lot better than the first. Especially the latkes and working on the exciting project!

    • Shayna

      It actually wasn’t so bad 🙂 I was much sadder on the 23rd than on Christmas day. My wonderful sweet husband let me cry in his lap that night, and then I got it out of my system.

  • nina

    I cried too. It’s my third here, I cry every Christmas and I really don’t see that changing in the future. Christmas has a lot of deep emotions for me, that I never realized how strong they are until I got to Brazil.

    But each year does get better. My poor man, but he understands too. He lived five years in the US.

    • Shayna

      It might get a bit better after your son is born – with a whole new member of the family, I bet you’ll have fun creating some wonderful Christmas memories for him!

  • Ah, I’m sorry you had sad moments this Christmas. I guess someone who only read my blog would think my Christmas was 100% full of family fun. The fact is that they (the Brazilian family) definitely helped distract, but I found this Christmas harder than ever. Their family traditions were nice, but I wanted *my* family traditions! It has been 3 years now since I’ve seen my family for Christmas and it is always hard. And I was a really miserable, difficult customer on the 23rd and 24th… My poor wife!

    But I think you are right to think about creating your own traditions. It can be fun! I usually start feeling a bit chirpier as the 26th turns into 27th and Christmas seems less important as it fades. I hope you feel the same. Do you have something nice planned for New Years?

    • Shayna

      I loved reading about your Christmas 🙂

      I too had somewhat of a meltdown on the 23rd – but after Christmas my husband sprang a surprise trip on me, and it made me forget all my saudade.

  • Both of our families live far away so next Christmas we either need to be with one of them or we need to travel. Otherwise it’s no fun…