Merry Christmas, especially to those apart.

Tonight’s not Christmas Eve, tonight’s just…Tuesday.

I threw a rueful grin at Miles earlier tonight when that thought occurred to me, adding “That’s not a thought I could put in a blog!” After all, people don’t want to hear any voices of dissent against Christmas Perfection. (Miles didn’t seem to find it funny either, although it’s hard to tell, cats have a awfully dry sense of humor.)

Christmas tree ornaments outside 01But I can laugh at that, because I have my Christmas this year, last weekend with most of the family, and I’ll spend some time tomorrow with a couple of the ones who weren’t there. But tonight? For me, tonight was a bowl of pasta I made (good enough for me but I wouldn’t put it on this last weekend’s table), and a movie on Netflix for me and Miles.

(We watched the last Mission: Impossible movie, Ghost Protocol or whatever, and agreed with a friend’s review “It’s good and funny in that over-the-top way, though only Tom Cruise seems to not realize it’s a joke.”)

So I can laugh, not bitter or sad (much) about being alone tonight, but there are two notes I want to add. First: if you are with family, appreciate it. Yes, they drive you nuts as only family can, but you’d probably miss them if they weren’t there, and they would miss you. (Do I need to add a disclaimer against an implicit assumption of the universality of an ostensibly Christian holiday? It’s a symbol, people, stop fighting.)

But second, a bit more vital to me, I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all of those people who are apart tonight. I’m sure there are more than we realize, some for work, some for reasons I can’t imagine, but the ones close to my heart are the travelers. Hopefully most of them are finding happy evenings in crowded hostels, perhaps even a fraction as good as the one I had in Rome in 2008…

But there are some of you, undoubtedly, alone tonight. I don’t want to be a bummer here, and hopefully you remember that everything is temporary, and these circumstances will change. So appreciate them now, learn the lessons there, and have this memory to revisit later. Maybe it will make a good story.

Christmas tree ornaments outside 02If it turns out you prefer holidays alone, that’s fine, that’s your right, far be it from me to reproach anyone. But if you find, perhaps surprisingly, that you miss your family, then hold on to that, and let it mean more when you come Home, more aware of what that word means than you were when you left.

And to those of you who are missing someone… That pain comes from love, and that’s always something to be thankful for. And/even if all circumstances change.

Anyway. To everyone, idyllic families around the fire, people fighting and squabbling about stupid shit, playing Scrabble or whatever you do: Merry Christmas. And to those who are away, who are separate, who find themselves apart tonight: Merry Christmas.