Most people know I'm a military brat. More specifically, an Army brat. This means that my family moves around - a lot. My dad's been in the Army for about seventeen years. In that time, my family has moved eight times. We've spent Christmas in eight different houses. Actually, we've only spent it in seven different houses. When we lived in New Jersey, we didn't get there until after the holiday. Instead, that Christmas was spent in guest quarters. Occasionally, we would travel and see family, but most of the time we were to far away to make the trip.
This year, we are "breaking in" a new house in Korea. That means that, as a college student, I'm celebrating Christmas in a house that I saw for the first time about a week ago.
With all of this moving around, Christmas isn't really about being "home" for the holidays. Home is wherever dad happens to be stationed. Going to see extended family isn't really home because I didn't grow up around them. Going to my parents' house really isn't home because, as my mom puts it, I come in the door and hear, "Welcome home! Let me show you where your bedroom is."
Instead, celebrating Christmas is really more about the traditions my family has set over the years. Being with the family, regardless of where we are. Going to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Taking all day to open our gifts (you think I'm kidding, but we always find a way to stretch it out until after dinner). Opening our gifts in a certain order. Getting gifts from "Santa". Eating cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Listening to my dad tell us the story of "Eliezer the Unreliable". Listening to my mom read The Polar Express on Christmas Eve.
As I said, this is my first Christmas in Korea. And I'm enjoying getting to explore a new country. And I'm happy that my friend from high school, Kurt, is over here too. But really, I'm just excited that my family's traditions make me feel at home halfway across the world.