[This was originally a guest post I shared last year at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas]
I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska.
seriously, isn't she beautiful?!- source
I loved every single thing about being Alaska's child. I loved playing in the snow and warming my wet gloves on the dryer vent so I didn't have to waste one minute going inside for a new pair. I loved the moose that would jump over the fence to spend the night in our backyard. I loved the forget-me-nots and fireweed and bringing in bundles for our dining room table.
It was a painful day when I heard the words "we're moving." As a nine-year-old it was just too much for me to bare. My parents, having lived quite a long time in the last frontier, were more than ready to leave the long dark winters behind and decided to move to the lower-48. They were full of eager excitement. I was full of denial and the feeling that my life was completely and hopelessly over.
We moved to Pennsylvania (to be closer to my grandparents) a few days before Christmas. I remember looking back one last time at my childhood home and thinking "nothing will ever fell like home again."
We temporarily moved into my grandparents' condo as a first stop in our great adventure. By the time we got settled and slept off our jet-lag, it was Christmas Eve. I didn't feel much like celebrating...I just wanted to go home. We made a large dinner that night (much different that our usual Christmas Eve tradition) and settled in the living room around the tree. I begged to open one present, just one I promised. My dad picked one out for me telling me he bought it all by himself. I carefully opened the small box to find a little red pocket knife. My dad told me that I was old enough and thought that every kid needed to know how to use one.
I thanked my dad and put the gift away thinking that was it until Christmas morning. Instead my grandfather jumped up and said, "well, I guess we should all open just one." So the adults each picked out a package and ooh'd and awe'd over each other's gifts. My dad picked up the wrapping paper and announced it was probably time for bed. "No, we should probably just open one more," my grandpa said from the corner. Well, who was I to argue. I dug right in and found another with my name on it. "Well, Laura can open another," grandpa said again. And before we knew it, Christmas Eve turned into Christmas early morning and we had opened every single present under the tree.
I fell asleep that night on my blow-up mattress in the living room, with a smile on my face, thinking that, although I still didn't love the idea that I had to move, there might be some new traditions to be had in this new home.
Now, 17 years later, having our big family dinner, opening presents, and relaxing by the fire Christmas Eve remains my favorite holiday tradition. Although my grandfather passed away 7 years ago, I can feel him with us every time I open just one more present on Christmas Eve.