A year ago, I was with my kids in a one bedroom apartment in Utah while my son was in the midst of oral immunotherapy for peanuts. My husband was back home in Arizona. We saw him roughly once a month for a few days at a time. Many of our regular Christmas traditions weren’t possible in a new place,  though we did try some disastrous things like ice skating.

Many of our activities were put on hold because no one wanted leave my husband out and we knew he was missing us and wanted to be there as much as we wanted him to be with us. So we waited. And waited. And finally, two days before Christmas he arrived for his 9 day stay. 8 of those days, at least one of us had the stomach flu.

Our son tried peanut m&m’s for the first time on Christmas Eve as part of his updose, but he came down with the stomach flu that night and has never touched another peanut m&m. Christmas Day was snowing and blustery. We only played in it for only a few minutes before retreating back to the apartment as I was still recovering and our son was still in the throes of his stomach flu. We tried to drive around and look at lights one night, but the kids fell asleep before we made it to a neighborhood. Happy to be together, but definitely not our finest…it was not a Christmas to remember.

So this year, we are going to do every Christmas thing we can possibly do and we will start whenever we can. Hallmark channel has begun playing movies, so I’m watching. SiriusXM jumped the gun on music…so I’m listening. My kids won’t be little for much longer and I want there to be a foundation of Christmas magic and joy for them to hold on to until they have kids of their own and they experience the magic all over again. Christmas IS joy and I want to feel that now, not on an arbitrary date.

Are we eschewing Thanksgiving? Absolutely not! We are writing our cards of gratitude, planning our meal and reveling in all the November glory that there is…friends, my birthday, family, gatherings, parties and probably a great deal of whatever shopping needs to get done for Christmas because I don’t need the craziness in December.

I am more grateful for the last year of my life than I could ever express in words. I’m grateful for Dr. Jones, OIT and even those damn peanuts. I’m grateful we have friends and family, a home, food on our table and so blessed to feel true love. I’m thankful…and getting into the Christmas spirit early doesn’t detract from that in any way.

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