Continuing my theme of personal Advent calender, we come to another personal Christmas tradition- second Christmas.

With a birthday right before the holiday, and the assorted hubbub and build up for Christmas, the holiday season is the high point family celebration for Clan Showalter. We aren’t huge Thanksgiving folks, and there’s no other holiday that brings the family together. I’ve missed one Christmas at home. One. That year was an exercise in misery. I decided to be all responsible and adult that year and start building my own Christmas traditions. It didn’t work. I was lonely, miserable, and generally displeased with the whole event. Lesson learned, I go home for the holiday.

That leads to a second problem. Returning from the bosom of the family after Christmas brings me back to a quiet apartment, and an empty Christmas tree. It’s honestly a bit depressing. To offset this, I created the Second Christmas ritual years ago.

Over the course of the year, I’ll pick up Christmas gifts for myself. It’s usually just a few things which I know won’t end up under the tree back home. I also pick up some gifts for the cats. These all get wrapped and stuck under the tree. When I return from visiting home, I have Second Christmas, and proceed to unwrap gifts with the various cats. I get the fun of seeing my cats digging through the wrapping paper, and help tie Christmas in Texas back to Christmas at home.

The only time of the year I find myself aware of the distance between the family and me is Christmas. Second Christmas is a small way for me to keep reducing that distance.