safe travels.

This was the best image I could find to depict our two-hour drive to Maine:

{Image via weheartit}
Ok, we may not be cool enough to drive an original English Mini and I may have wrapped the presents in kraft paper, not pretty pink...but in a few short hours, we'll be headed for "Vacationland". 

This is my fourth Christmas with {cv}'s family--and this year, more than ever, I'm missing the quiet of Christmases past in Indiana. We spent Christmas together before were were married because we were long-distance and have actually only spent two of our six Christmases apart. 

Don't get me wrong: I adore his crazy Christmas Eve gathering--where my husband's Italian throng gathers to bring in Christmas. He is one of twelve grandkids, so it manages to trump the fact that I'm an only child with a much smaller family gathering.

I fell in love with their family Christmas when I first came in 2007, before we were engaged. I felt this strange feeling, that if for some reason we didn't end up as husband and wife, my future Christmases would never really live up to what I saw that year. Truth be told, I love that so much family comes to be together in one place to celebrate.

It was never easy to be away from my family at the holidays...and it hasn't gotten any easier. I don't think it ever will. I know my mother probably thinks that I'm fine without the cozy Christmases of years past, but that's definitely not the case.  

I miss the late night Christmas Eve church services. I miss sitting by the tree with my dad, just watching the lights. I miss singing Christmas songs at the piano with my mother. I even miss my old cat, Whitty, who chewed on ribbon and thus barred pretty bows from our house. I generally just miss home.

I wish I could say that we could slip away for a Midwestern Christmas some day soon, but it's tough for {cv} to break tradition...and I understand that. Over the past ten years, my family hasn't celebrated with much tradition...we go to Kansas City one year, Nashville the next, and generally, the shuffling is tough. Where we spend Christmas is a perennially tough debate, which I know will not get easier until we're settled somewhere, have kids, and want to spend Christmas at home {wherever that ends up being}.

I'm feeling more at home in New England, but the truth is that it never really will be home. My "home" is now with Chris, but my heart will always have a place in the quiet, snowy cornfields of Indiana.
The good news is that we'll be joining my parents on December 29th in {what I hope is} sunny Hilton Head, South Carolina. Until then, I'll savor our New England Christmas--our first as Mr. and Mrs. :) I'll enjoy the time with his family and seeing our 18-month-old nephew enchanted with presents. I love his family--and I am so lucky they have embraced me as one of their own.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you! Safe travels to all of you departing for home--or wherever "home" is this year. I'm going to take my first little blog vacation, but I promise more soon. Each of you have been such a gift to me over the past couple of months, so thank you!  

Never forget your childhood image of Christmas. And, most importantly, never ever forget the reason why we celebrate...

Until the 26th! xoxo {av}


  1. Holy crap! You're going to be in Hilton Head?! That's where I live! It's sunny and warm here now so I'll try to hang on to the good weather for you!

    Hope you have a special Christmas with your hubbies fam and a good post-Christmas with yours! :)

    PS - that pic is FABULOUS!

  2. Merry Christmas! And I'm sorry you won't be with your family for Christmas -- but if my Italian side of the family is any indication, I'm sure your husband's is boisterous and joyful enough to chase away the blues. I get homesick for NY at any point of the year when I'm in Chicago, so I can imagine how tough it must be for the holidays. Regardless, I hope your Christmas is as merry and spectacular and as wonderful as ever! :)

  3. Not being with the family during the holidays is tough, but having two wonderful homes to choose from is pretty awesome my friend. You're a lucky girl, I spent last Christmas with my ex bf's family and I have to admit it refreshes me knowing I don't have to spend another Christmas with them again, it was disastrous! Have a wonderful Merry Christmas, xo

  4. Love this post!!!
    Sooooo cute! :) and great image!


  5. Merry Christmas, Doll!

    xoxo, Summer.

  6. That photo is so sweet, and I'm delighted to know we both used kraft paper this holiday! Have a safe trip, and enjoy the crazy Christmas-we're doing two large family celebrations this year, and I just hope we both survive!

    Happy Christmas!

  7. i hope you have a wonderful christmas!! it is always hard to figure out christmas plans... this was the first year that i got to celebrate with my boyfriends family (a super small gathering of 4 other people) but it was SO nice and v special. i am bringing h home this weekend for my family celebrations (which sound more like your husbands-- TONS of grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and cousins). h has a tough time remembering everyones name but i am happy that at least this year we are able to celebrate with both families. i have loved reading your blog and your comments! looking forward to 2011! xoox jcd

  8. haha thats an awesome picture! Love all the pink wrapping paper, I should do that sometime! Hope you traveled safely!

  9. Merry Christmas AV! Hope you guys have a wonderful time with your families. Funny, my hubs has the crazy large Italian gathering too. It's tons of fun but so different from my quiet central PA Christmas! So I totally know how you feel about missing home, I'm right there with ya. Hope you have a safe trip! (..trips!) and I can't wait to read all about it :)

  10. merry christmas sweet friend! safe travels and blessings for a happy, healthy holiday season! and oh, us italians are a pretty motley crew:) so glad you can see the love that permeates the loudness!

  11. It's always hard to miss out on family moments and holidays! I hope you have a wonderful time!! Merry Christmas!!

  12. Alright darling, I hate to burst your bubble but {sunny} Hilton Head, South Carolina isn't all that sunny! I LIVE 30 MINUTES AWAY FROM HILTON HEAD! How funny is that?! Its pretty chilly out today, but I survived the outside wearing a cardigan and tank, so I guess it's not all that cold ;)
    As for missing home, one day, when you are settled down, you'll be right back in the same feeling of snowy cornfields Indiana. Sounds lovely. Sounds like you'll have a blast though on Christmas Eve! This year, my Christmas Eve is a little different than usual as well. I normally spend the evening watching Christmas movies with my family and baking cookies, but Justin's family has us traveling all over the county for Christmas parties and gift-exchanges. But I hope it will all work out.
    Hope yours is fulfilling and just know that one day you'll truly be home.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours.

  13. have a wonderful time and a lovely christmas with your loved ones!

  14. Merry Christmas, girl! Thanks for all your blog love! I'm very thankful for that. :) Safe travels and Merry Holidays!

    i wander, i wonder

  15. I loved this post, and it's something I feel I can relate to. I'm an only child too, so I know that christmas time struggle of whos family to spend it with. Why not invite your parents to come celebrate with cv's family one year?? Bring both families together?? I hope y'all have a safe drive to Maine (I'm so jealous, I went to undergrad up there and miss it terribly!!)... and have so much fun in hilton head!! happy holidays my dear :)

  16. Hope you got there safe...and here is wishing you the happiest Christmas Av

  17. I really know this feeling. Even though I'm not close with my family, I miss the feeling of home. For me it's more of a figurative place rather than literal, and it's somewhere I'll never be able to go back to. I guess that's why being a parent is such a treat, because creating that place for someone else is a magical feeling. I hope you guys enjoyed your holiday!

  18. I've had that feeling some years ago, because i didn't celebrate christmas at home. now i'm lucky enough to celebrate christmas twice, once with my family, once with my boyfriend's family and i'm really happy about it. i hope you will be able to find a soultion so that you can also enjoy the holidays with your parents, despite the distance!
    I wish you a delayed Merry Christmas my dear! Take care and come back soon! :)

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