Holiday Traditions

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This past weekends snowstorm, probably the closest we’ll ever get to a “white Christmas”, was nothing short of magical in our household. Since we knew the timing of the weather forecast, the boys were anxious to get to bed the night before, crossing their fingers and toes that the snow would come. When they woke up in the morning they shot over to the window and pulled open the blinds. There was no snow yet but they were still excited by the promise that it would be coming soon. I stayed in bed a little longer and my oldest busted through the bedroom door about an hour later and did the same thing to the blinds, this time announcing “MOM! LOOK!!!” as he exposed a beautiful snow white landscape out our front window. Since it was a weekend day, we all got to play outside as a family, going outside at least 2-3 times just on Sunday to sled, have snowball fights and just play.

Of course, the minor inconvenience of an extended weekend from school being closed had me trying to plan out activities so we all didn’t go stir-crazy. I figured we’d lay low on Monday giving the road crews time to clear everything and enjoy the rest of the snow before it melted and on Tuesday we would head down to Blackstone, VA to see the train display at the hardware store. The boys LOVE this display and with the drive to and from plus the hour or so they would spend circling the train display and picking out their small toy from the cash register, it would fill the entire day. Before getting ready, I did a quick google search just to make sure all was a go and discovered a message on the store's homepage “It is with much regret that we announce the trains at Bevell’s will not be running during the 2018 holiday season due to a major family illness. Thank you for understanding as the Daniels family works through this difficult time”.

The message weighed heavy on me for two reasons. Primarily, the thought of what the family must be going through to call off a season of a special, local tradition, and second, the disappointment my children would feel, and I’m sure the general sentiment of many people like us unconnected personally to the Daniels family other than by this holiday tradition, when I told them the news. I thought about it most of the morning, what the family must be going through personally, how inevitable the backlash of not doing something for the public that they’ve grown to love may have played a mental tug-of-war on the family as they made the decision, as much as I hoped it didn’t and wouldn’t. As if either by serendipity (or internet algorithms), this article showed up on the social media feed and I read it. What I’ve learned over the 19 Christmases since my husband died

It was not long ago that we experienced grief around the holidays. And let's face it, whether new grief and illness or the memory of another holiday season spent grieving or facing bad news, many of us and the people around us are facing this reality. They’re next to us in the long checkout line and looking for a parking spot in the crowded parking lots and putting a friendly smile on at the holiday party. And while there are very distinct religious reasons for the season, maybe a little empathy over giving and understanding over obligation should also be the genuine by-products that manifest during the holiday season.

While we will miss partaking in our little holiday tradition of seeing the trains in Blackstone this year, we wish many blessings of love and support to the Daniels family and the community of Blackstone, and to all of you who may be struggling to find joy in this very meaningful but often commercialized holiday season we wish you also much love and support. As always, we are thankful for the Support you’ve shown us this past year and for trusting us to show your friends and family some edible loving. We look forward to continuing to Support this community in the new year. Happy Holidays!