For some reason, I am really missing my mother this holiday season. It’s my third Christmas without her. Every year, she’d decorate for the holidays and invite everyone over, the kids and grandchildren, to see the Christmas décor. Admittedly, in my hectic life, I’d begrudgingly make time because I knew it was important to her, but once I got here, I was so glad I went. For that evening, somehow all the worries of my hectic life dispersed as I ate holiday food, drank holiday drinks, listened to music, perhaps saw a show on TV and just enjoyed family time. I’d get that warm feeling inside that Norman Rockwell tried to depict in his paintings of a traditional family holiday gathering. It was a great escape and it felt so good. I’d look forward to the next one – until my hectic life starts to chip away at that feeling.

Now I find my wife and decorating he house, waiting for our children and grandchildren to come by. I’ve learned something: it’s about time AND place. Yes, time is something we have some level of control over. Sure most of us have to work, but we can control how much, to some extent. We are the ultimate arbiter of our time. We can elect to get off the treadmill of the rat-race for a while and enjoy life and the moment. It’s also about place though. Visiting my mother’s house forced me to use my time differently. If I wasn’t visiting her that evening I’d have been working on a project for work, or doing a project around the house catching up on chores, or maybe mindlessly numbing myself in front of the TV, which in and of itself is like a job relaxing the mind to prepare for more work in the future.

Perhaps this is why travel, especially as a family, is so important. I remember a family ski trip where we’d run the slopes until we were tired, then came back to our rented cottage, where after eating we would relax, share stories, laugh, drink and just enjoy the moment. It’s just so much harder to do that at one’s own home. After all, you have to either putter around loading the dishwasher (heck, nobody else can load YOUR dishwasher the right way) or have the future cleanup needs lingering in the back of your mind. Travel provides that neutral territory.

Whether you are celebrating Christmas as we do, or Hanukkah as many of my friends do, or any other holiday, consider that getaway to truly relax and enjoy the season. If your own religious views don’t align with any holiday this season, that’s fine too. We are all human and we all need that end of the year pause to refresh and reflect. Either way, our staff wishes our readers a wonderful season of peace, relaxation, celebration, love and hope. Merry Christmas.

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