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December 19, 2017

Going “home” for the holidays?

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays!
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.
(“Home for the Holidays”)


I hope this quote is true for you. I hope that being “home” with your family does bring a million smiles. For others of you, I know it doesn’t.


One of the main reasons the holiday season is difficult for some people is the pressure they feel to be “home,” and to be happy going there for the holidays. One way to improve this is to try and improve all the relationships associated with “home” (parents, siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles). Another way is much simpler: Redefine “home.”


When you say “home,” what comes to mind? Where your mom lives? Where you grew up? That’s very common, but here’s a question: What does that make your place now? Some temporary tour of duty in a foreign land? And if so, what does that say to your spouse & kids?


When Jenny and I first moved to Atlanta in 2000, we were asked by several new friends whether we were going “home” for the holidays. They knew we were both from Houston, and we still had family there and in nearby Louisiana. We were in fact planning to travel there that year, so I almost answered “yes.” But then something stopped me. An angel must’ve landed on my shoulder, apparently, and whispered some magical words I would not have thought of on my own:


“Well, yes–we’re leaving our home here to go be with extended family back in Texas and Louisiana.”


One thing successful military families have taught me is this: “Home” is not defined by history, or geography, or architecture. If it were, then these military families would never be living at home, since they’re usually moving every two years, all over the country and globe. No, “home” is best defined by your primary residence and relationships.


My home is wherever I am with Jenny. And that, usually, makes me happy in a million ways. (Well, maybe not a million, but you get the gist.)


Here’s the three best versions of “Home for the Holidays”:
1. Perry Como
2. The Carpenters
3. None. No others are worth listening to, IMHO.


Peace begins with pause,



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