The Meaning of “Home”

Over the years, my wife and I have occasionally brought up the idea of moving. Our house suits our needs, but it’s nothing spectacular. Some would say it’s humble.

Every Christmas, we have our entire family in our house for a celebration—my four kids, three spouses, and a sleigh full of grandkids.

It’s a tight fit into our main living room.

But my older kids cherish coming home. And they are the ones who say, “No, don’t you sell this house, Dad. We have memories here.”

Since they’re married now, they have to sleep in small rooms with two single beds, and their babies sack out in cribs or in sleeping bags on the floor.

And they love it …

Bigger is not always better. Nicer is not always what your children want.

So, I guess we’ll bring in a few extra chairs when we all open up our new pajamas on Christmas Eve—that’s one of our traditions.

And the next morning, when we walk down the stairs—oldest to youngest so that the adults get to see the kids’ face as they walk in and see the trees and gifts and whole family waiting …

Well, we’ll feel a little packed.

But it’ll all be just right. We’ll be home.

Even as I say that, though, I’m pretty sure my kids would tell you the best part of being “home” for the holidays is not the house itself. It’s more about who is there and what we do.

My kids razz each other. Fireworks explode across the grandkids’ faces as they see their presents… which delights the adults even more than the kids.

I count my blessings to have them with me.

In today’s world, family situations are complicated. Maybe some of your kids can’t be home with you. Or maybe you’ll meet in a central location that isn’t “home” to anyone.

A few weeks ago, I told you about a 65-year-old mom who reads The Night Before Christmas over the phone to her kids every Christmas Eve. They have families of their own, and they are scattered across the country…

But every year, Mom and her two daughters make sure they find a way to enjoy their tradition together.

Your family doesn’t have to be at home to be home. Your family doesn’t even have to be together to be together.

Creating a “home” is about creating traditions and bonds that tie the family together, wherever they are.

So I encourage you to do whatever you can to keep your family traditions going, or to create new ones if your family has changed.

The idea is to be flexible in where, when and how you celebrate. Being together—if only in spirit—is how to really bring Christmas home.

Merry Christmas to you and yours,

Carey

 

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.”