This wil be the first time, in all my 37 years, that I will not be home for Christmas. Does the term Late Bloomer comes to mind? The wintery Santa Cruz sun, empty streets, traditional walk on the beach... these are what signify the holiday. But this year I will be in my new house. My chosen home. Sarah and I are having folks over for enchiladas and taking a long hike. Maybe we will even go out and see a Hollywood blockbuster, whatever that is these days. My time in Missoula is a wonderful reminder that Christmas simply means getting cozy and performing rituals. And that can be done anywhere at anytime. Last night we put up the tree and loaded it with ornaments, some from my sister and my shared childhood, some from her partner Nathen's, but most of them were new pieces that are only special to her girls. To set the tone I played Alabama's holiday record. There is something about harmonizing southern men singing about Jesus and Thistle Hair the Christmas Bear that really signify the season. The living room took on that particular glow, with wrapping paper covering the floor and torn bits of packaging strewn here and there. What a relief, to see, to know, that tradition is of the making and is a living, breathing manifestation of one's creativity and desire. What do I want for myself, what patterns do I wish to revisit each year, and whom do I wish to share them with? Who and what is family and home for me as I wind my way through the various landscapes of my life.

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