No place like home.

Twas the night before Christmas Eve and my family was making a midnight ride to grandma’s house. Over rivers and through many woods, happily breezing by those glowing beacons universally recognized as McDonald play places–we passed all the usual landmarks as the kids slept snugly belted into their boosters.

Here’s the thing about going home for the holidays. I spent the first two decades of my life engrossed in what I believed to be the most wonderful way to celebrate Christmas ever. Probably one of the hardest things about getting married was giving it all up. Adhering to new traditions was about as easy as traveling through a Utah snowstorm with rear wheel drive.

But since we’ve had children, Christmas has once again morphed and changed. And while I’m so excited to be home for the family Christmas Eve party (because it never quite feels like Christmas without it), I’m incredibly conscious of the sweet little Christmas I’m leaving here.

The last two years have been kind of precious for us. These three darling kids bring so much light and enthusiasm to our home (they also sometimes stink and throw-up, but you get the point), I’m afraid I’ll get so wrapped up in all the extended family that I won’t really see them.

Because even though our babies are still too busy dreaming of sugar plums and Santa gifts to give Jesus a whole lot of attention, I know that His spirit is in our home. We love each other, and forgive the phrase, but together really is our favorite place to be (especially if Disneyland or McDonald’s is part of that place). It must make the Savior happy to see families loving to be together, and so far we do.

No matter where the holiday might take you, may your Christmas be full of the same spirit that attended our Savior on that sacred night of his birth. May there be joy and love and family bonds, may your bridges be mended and may there be an abundance of olive branches to mark your path.

And even if you don’t get to be with the people you love the most, may the Spirit of Christmas let you love the ones you’re with.

Merry Christmas, my dear friends. Merry Christmas.


  1. Merry, Christmas, Annie. May it be magical.

  2. merry christmas annie, very sweet post! have fun in washington! i would love to be there for a christmas, one of these years…

  3. Merry Christmas to you! Speaking as one without her own family yet, I’m grateful for the family members who do travel to attend the family Christmas parties and bring their little kids for me to love:)

  4. Mery, Merry Christmas, my famous friend! Hope to see you in January!

  5. I stumbled across your blog sometime this week and I have to say thank you in particular for this post. I really needed to hear it. I am spending my first Christmas away from my family, all our traditions, in a foreign country with my husbands family (who doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all) and it has been difficult. I hope you all have a great Christmas!

  6. I don’t know why but this line really struck me:
    “may your bridges be mended and may there be an abundance of olive branches to mark your path.”

    I’m all kinds of crying now. Thank you, Annie. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and that you get your “small, close” Christmas. *Hugs*

  7. We do Christmases at home and invite the extended family here. Not that I like the cleaning and “where is everyone going to sleep” arrangements, but it gets us out of hauling Christmas somewhere else, my kids sleep in their own beds, and the attention is more focused on US (just where it should be.)

    And then when one (or all) of the kids decides to puke a stomach full of candy and crackers all over their beds, we have help cleaning it up. (Seriously, last year’s puking was disgusting. DISGUSTING. I hope we don’t have a repeat this year. D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G.)

  8. Your bit aobut not being with the people you love most about made me sob. Thanks! Though my husband and kids are among those I love most, my parents and siblings are strung out all across the country.. and I’m not exaggerating. New York, Kansas, Washington, Utah, and Idaho… We’re all so far apart. So I’m hoping they feel my love this Christmas!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Merry Christmas Annie! Hope it’s a good one.:)

  10. I thought I would hate doing Christmas all alone. But thirteen years later, I LOVE it. I LOVE that I have my own little family to have traditions with. My kids now have their own favorite foods they want to eat on Christmas.

    Merry Christmas, my new found, long lost soul sister!

  11. Hope your Christmas was wonderful and magical! It’s true, leaving it all behind at home is really hard. But I’ve enjoyed as the kids get older making it OUR Christmas. And yes, Jesus does take a backseat to Santa, but I know the kids do feel His spirit.
    Thanks for all of the fun and happiness you bring to your blog all year long. I love love love it!

  12. Thanks for the Christmas wish to us all. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday too!

  13. I hope you had a great Christmas…holla’ at your sister for me!