Yankee Candle Headquarters, Deerfield Mass
I am a New England Girl, born and raised. I grew up in Western Massachusetts and attended Syracuse University. (Go Orange.) One of my family traditions that goes way back to my own childhood, has always been a visit to the Yankee Candle headquarters in Deerfield, MA.
My Dad used to say “I can’t get out of there for under $100, for W-A-X!” And my brother Alan admits “It’s the New England equivalent of Disney!”
My kids have been to MA for Christmas, and to Yankee Candle Headquarters, many times throughout their childhood. To them, it’s a New England holiday tradition. My daughter Emilie asked me if we could go this year, she said it reminded her of her youth. That made me fell all warm and fuzzy inside. So of course, I immediately asked my brother if we could fit it in to our visit.
There is nothing permanent, except change
2015 has brought about a lot of changes and modifications to the definition of family in the St. Hilaire/Nelson household — rolling with it, learning, and adapting. Truth be told, in the end, we are all doing ok.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that changes are happening all around us. For those of you who have had to re-learn how to celebrate the holiday season, my hat (and leopard print headband) are tipped in your direction.
Traditions = Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness
My two teenage kids and my brother’s three little ones, navigated Yankee Candle on Christmas Eve like seasoned veterans. My daughter said that it didn’t totally seem the same as it had in her youth. Maybe it’s because she is 17, maybe it’s because she was only with me, her brother, and my brother’s family. Maybe it was because the shiny candy coating of childhood had given way to the gooey, gritty center of her adulthood.
Maybe it was a combination of all of the above.
We navigated the fake snow of their youth, (it was scattered on the floor but didn’t fall from the sky like it used to) to the antique chairs they used to pose for photos in for their Dad. I took fancy iPhone photos and agreed to buy them candy, fudge, candles, whatever they wanted. In the end they wanted nothing, they were happy with the day.
Retaining a Sense of Self
One thing that’s tough to maintain is your confidence in yourself when your family traditions go out the window. I put the kids first, I put the work first, I put the dogs first, I put myself last. It just seemed like the right thing, the only thing, to do.
Yankee Candle had always been my childhood tradition too. This year my father, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, didn’t join us because it’s too hard for him to navigate the crowds and the merchandise displays. My mother and father are not longer together despite 30+ years of a tumultuous relationship. So even if my Dad did make it, it wouldn’t have been my Mom that he would have come with. That’s OK, because my Step Mother Nancy is wonderful and amazing in her own right, I know she loves me, and she has been with my Dad for a very, very, long time.
As for Emilie and Connor, it’s not the Yankee Candle of thier youth, but it still can be the Yankee Candle of their present. I’m lucky to have faith in the fact that we could all spend Christmas day together, as an extended St. Hilaire, Carrera, (My brother’s in-laws were here from CA) and Nelson family.
Learning and Growing
This last year has taught me much about acceptance. You may not always like your NEW holiday traditions or you NEW family situation, but learning to roll with it is your present day goal and potential New Year’s resolution. Setting an example for my kids, proving that I can adapt and still don a smile, is important.
Thank You to all and to all a Good Night
A big thank you is in order for my kids, who spent the week in MA with me and my extended family. I thank them for coming along and for making the most of today, tomorrow, and yesterday. I love them both, more than they will probably ever know.
So here’s to the new and modified versions of family traditions. Here’s to rolling with the circumstances you have been presented with, and to being flexible. Hats off to you if you had a holiday this year that you didn’t expect, or weren’t prepared for, but you somehow managed to roll with, donning a smile and potentially an ugly Christmas sweater.
If There is No Struggle, There is No Progress
Ain’t that the truth? Frederick Douglass hit the nail on the head when he spoke these words of wisdom. The best we can do is to move forward, to grow, and to change in the face of the challenges that life presents us.
Change is good. Chang makes us stronger, change helps us to redefine tradition, change helps us to accept, forgive, and move forward.
Thank you for being a part
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