Thursday, December 24, 2009

Family and Friends Make the Holidays Special

Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter of New York City - Holiday Party | Photo Courtesy Melissa Alexander

When you live alone in a city as big as New York, it's difficult not to grow nostalgic for the days when you and your family all lived in the same place. Especially around the holidays. Growing up, my sister, brother, and I were very serious about our Christmas traditions, which included sleeping in the same bedroom on Christmas Eve. This way, we could make sure no one was sneaking downstairs early to poke at the presents under the tree. And, when we couldn't stand laying awake any longer, we'd all go down to the living room together, turn the tree lights on, and sit on the couch to open our stockings. (Our parents allowed us to open our stockings - and only our stockings - before they woke up. Smart move on their part.)

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Book Club Spread

Eventually, we all valued sleeping in more than we valued sleeping in the same room to police one another. The Christmas morning routine still included opening our stockings together, but it also included brewing a pot of fresh coffee and joking about how Santa Claus continued to leave us the traditional Christmas Mentos. (It wouldn't be a Judd-family Christmas without individually-wrapped rolls of Mentos!) We got older and moved on. And having the family all together at the holidays isn't as easy a task as it used to be. Thankfully, I have a very special New York family to spend time with when I can't be in Connecticut.

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Book Club Spread

Of course, I'm talking about my Chi Omega family. I can't begin to tell you what an honor it is to have these women in my life. From the monthly Book Club meetings (the food pictures in this post are from our November meeting) to the philanthropy events to the nights out at Happy Hour, I've had an absolute blast. My time in New York thus far has largely been shaped by my involvement with the Alumnae Chapter, and without the friends I made upon joining, I don't think I would have remained sane after I lost my job in August. I am indescribably grateful for the love and support these women extended to me when I needed it the most.

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Book Club Spread

The holidays can be about finding the perfect Christmas tree or baking cookies until you never want to eat another ounce of sugar again or decorating your house or apartment so it looks like an elf exploded. The holidays can be about spending hours fighting your way through crowded shopping malls - or worse, Midtown Manhattan when it's overrun with tourists - in search of the ideal gift "for the person who has everything" before settling on giving them yet another gift card. The holidays can even be about shuffling from one party to the next for three weeks straight only to come to realize that you only knew 1% of the people who attended those parties with you.

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Book Club Spread

All of those things can make up your holiday experience, but it's the time you spend with family and friends that makes the holidays special. Treasure this time with them. Continue old traditions or make the decision to start new ones. While the holidays can, undoubtedly, cause stress or anxiety, do you really want to look back on holidays past and remember bickering over stringing up the lights on the outside of the house?

Or would you rather open your stocking and laugh about the Christmas Mentos?

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