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As Frank and I did the "snowbird" thing for 30 years, we were never around family for the holidays. Now I am staying in the frozen north year round and am within driving distance of most of my family. Actually it is just my sister, who is not really into holidays at all, and Frank's grown kids who have kids of their own.

I would be surprised if any of them invited me for a holiday get-together and I don't think I would want to go. I would like to see them, of course, but the holidays themselves are so fraught with emotion, I wouldn't trust myself to hold it together. If I am going to be miserable, I would prefer to do it alone. If anyone suggests it, I will try to defer it to a day sometime before or after the actual day. And also that way I won't feel like I am being invited out of pity or duty.

So I need to have a ready answer, will probably use my sister as an excuse. I wouldn't mind spending time with her and her husband, like I said, they don't make a big deal of holidays. Three cats = no Christmas tree, lol.

So what are your plans?

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The first "holiday" I need to take note of is 28 Oct, (would have been) our 50th anniversary.  I'll sit down with our wedding album and go through it as if she were sitting beside me.  Then Thanksgiving Day ( the day I flew her out on Flight-for-Life)  I don't know if either of my son's will come up for the holidays.  Once the snow starts to fall, they have to be careful so that they can get back over the pass and down into Denver after the holidays.  It could just be me and my two "Attack House Cats."

HUGS to all..

Frank (I guess, "the other Frank")   :)

With my children and grandchildren grown now, getting together for the holidays has become quite complicated. We're scattered around several states so there are travel arrangements and winter weather in the north to consider. Several people work and don't have the full holiday off, seriously limiting the time they have to participate. This year my guy and I will be spending several months in southern California and Arizona to be with his children and grandchildren, which means we won't be here with my family in the snowy Northwest.

My family has decided to pick the Sunday before Thanksgiving when we all can be together. We're calling it our Family Thankful Christmas. The emphasis is on being together and not so much on gifting. However, I started buying little, inexpensive gifts a couple months ago. I'm wrapping none of them; instead placing them into a couple large boxes. Soon Christmas stockings will be in the stores and I'll pick up the 14 needed and ask everyone to fill their own stocking this year! They'll get several things they want or need and can even take them to their own homes to save for Christmas Day. I have assured that there will be lots of laughter! A gag gift or two has always been part of my celebrating the festive part of Christmas.

My guy and I will be leaving the day before Thanksgiving to head south. (This time we are adding my new rescue cat, who is "about 3-5 years old" and going to have the adventure of her life. We'll be traveling in a 40 foot motor home and she can find numerous places to hide.) Thanksgiving day this year, November 23, will be his and his wife's 60th anniversary. She passed 13 years ago. Neither of us is sure what kind of day it will be, but we will be parked somewhere in Oregon. Keeping things quiet. Giving each other space. A day filled with understanding and patience. He does the same for me in February, the month my husband passed.

Holiday decorations? Not much in a motor home with a 12-lb. cat exploring every nook and cranny! As much as I loved the many years filled with decorating and baking and partying and concert going, this slower, more relaxed pace of retirement life suits me just fine. It's like I turned a corner and have entered the winter of my days. I hope you can make your holidays meaningful too. (((HUGS)))

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

We used to host a large gathering of family and friends. I didn't do that this year and didn't miss the shopping, cooking and cleaning!
Went to a family dinner and brought the dog. She provided the entertainment.

A friend invited me to lunch with her family today. Should be okay.

Christmas was always quiet as was my birthday and I've always detested New Years.

My husband died last November 15.  I had multiple Thanksgiving invites, and spent it with a friend and her family.  DS, who lives 3 hours away, called the day before after I'd accepted an invitation.  It's the though that counts, I guess!  To be fair, they'd just had a new baby the week before.

My Dad and siblings all live in the Carolinas and last Christmas I did a 9-day road trip and put over 2,000 miles on the car.  It will be less driving this time; Dad (also widowed late last year) has moved closer to the same general area as most of my siblings and the road trip will be only one overnight, not two.  I made the same trip in July.  DH and I always made the Christmas trip and he did all the driving so it's a little different but I can handle it.

Because we were gone every Christmas, and never were big on gift-giving anyway, we gradually cut way back on Christmas decorations over the years.  I got through last year's holidays very well and don't think this year will be much different.

Thanksgiving is all set. I'm going north to be with my two sisters, one of them has a husband, and there will be 3 of the younger generation about.

This is the first Thanksgiving without my Mom - I'm feeling this more than my husband being gone.

And then Christmas, my niece uninvited my sisters and me. Sounds awful but I guess I understand that she really can only manage her immediate family.

I don't know what I will do for Christmas. I really feel like an orphan! on top of being a widow. (My mom died in March so this is all new for me)

At least Thanksgiving is set. But this really sucks being alone!

Well I just saw my sister this weekend. I was not expecting a Thanksgiving invite and didn't get one. Her last words were "See you in December" when she is planning to visit me. That's just the way she is, but it hurt a little that she did not care enough to wonder what I would be doing on Thanksgiving. But like I said, that is just her.

I have decided if anyone asks what I am doing for the holiday(s) I will say "ignoring them." Just because most people get together with loved ones doesn't mean I have to do it and pretend to like it.

I already have my Turkey day planned - loads of DVDs to watch, decadent breakfast of French toast and bacon, popcorn shrimp and fries for lunch, and all the ice cream I want.

Right now my plans include my sisters visiting me for 3 days just after Thanksgiving. Then I visit them for a week at and through Christmas. Marty and I lived most of our 47 years away from family and each year during the holidays, celebrated with different friends. And New Years, well we did all our partying in our 30s and 40s, slowed down in our 50s and the last 16 years barely saw the ball drop in NY Times Square.

Still I know this is going to be difficult which is why I had to plan for them this year.

So, I learned today that now my sister plans to be with her husband and son for Christmas. There hasn't been an invitation to join her. I'm not sure how this works. I'm not sure I would go as she is about 3 hours away and it is winter.

I have another sister who does live closer (45 minutes) who may be looking to land somewhere with her daughter and son-in-law.

We will need to talk.

But how do I handle this - being alone at Christmas for the first time? Even after Ed died, I had my mom and her home. Now I don't.

I'm thinking I just have to get real used to being alone for the holidays and just get through them.

Feeling....sad...kind of abandoned....

The first holiday I was really alone without my husband was Thanksgiving. Looking back, it is hard to believe that was almost five years ago and how much of my life has changed! I couldn't bear to be alone that year, so I invited people in my mobile home park and church via their bulletin boards. The message was specific--"I'll bake the turkey; you bring a favorite food and we'll potluck. Dinner will be at 2PM, but you can come earlier or stay later."

I didn't know what would happen. One lady arrived at 10AM because she wanted to cook her dish at my house. Eight of us sat together for the meal, huddled around a table that normally only seats four. Our age range was 26-82 and we were all newly widowed. Most of us only knew our first names and most of us had never met before. We got over our nervousness, shared our food and some of the stories of our lives, we laughed and cried at the memories. The last person to leave did so at 9PM.

It was a one-of-a-kind Thanksgiving for me. One that I would do again in a flash. The only thing in life that is constant is change. It was important to me to create a new life and not stay stuck in established routines. That's just the way it worked best for me. 


   This will be my first Thanksgiving without him. Last Thanksgiving we rushed him to the hospital. After that... things got worse. 

   My family always meets at my Parents house to celebrate most holidays. This year I'll have my first Grandson with us to celebrate! It will be wonderful! He's only 2 1/2 weeks old now. He's my little A Grah.  :-)




Being that myself & our kids were hearts icky w/grief it was best we stayed home of a quiet 30 minute celebration of prayer & gift unwrapping ...

Looking back to our first few years brings a chuckle ...

The kids put up the tree w/4 remembrance ornaments, the 2nd year they added lights & by the 3rd year it was fully decorated as well as had never taken down ...

After the 3rd Christmas, we had both the physical strength & conscious awareness to take down all decorations from Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween & Thanksgiving that had been piled on one another ...  :-)

Being that myself & our kids were heart sick w/grief, our best option was to stay home for a quiet 30 minute celebration of prayer & gift unwrapping ...

Looking back to our first few years brings a chuckle ...

The kids put up the tree w/4 remembrance ornaments, the 2nd year they added lights & by the 3rd year it was fully decorated as well as had never taken down ...

After the 3rd Christmas, we had both the physical strength & conscious awareness to take down all decorations from Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween & Thanksgiving that had been piled on one another ...  :-)


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