Let’s continue with the holiday chatter, shall we?? I’m so happy to share my latest for CNN Opinion!! It’s all about the power of one song that has resonated with me every year since I was a kid: “Home For the Holidays”
I’m sure you’ve all heard the song at least a time or two. It’s all about the power of home during the holiday season. How that pull of going home to be with the ones you love is so strong. How people from coast to coast will drive hours for homemade pumpkin pie. How people are heading “down to Dixie’s sunny shore.”
It’s that last bit that always meant the most to me. Because that’s exactly what my family did. Every Christmas, we drove down to Southern Alabama to visit my grandparents, and those years of memories come alive in colors that are especially vibrant this time of year.
Actually, it was my mom who originally thought of the idea for this essay. We were talking about how the holidays are a hard time for people who have lost loved ones, and I knew I needed to write about that. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how exactly we define “home.” As usual, I spilled my feelings all over the keyboard…
Here’s an excerpt of the piece, in which I also offer some tips on how to add some cheer to the holidays by starting new traditions while also keeping the memories of our loved ones alive at the same time. We can go home for the holidays even if that home isn’t a physical place…
I’ve adopted a new definition of home. Home does not have to be physical place. Sometimes it can come in the form of a family photo album, full of memories that remind you of happier times. Sometimes home is sharing stories about our favorite holiday moments, like the times my father would take my sister and me out to play outside after a huge blizzard and how my mom would have hot chocolate waiting for us when we came home — freezing and covered in a layer of snow.
My family may be smaller now, but being with my mom and sister (and two cats) during the holidays is what brings me the most joy. So, please, surround yourself with the people you love most — the ones who lift you up, the ones who make the holidays brighter.
This essay also marks a writing milestone: 12 op-eds for CNN in 12 months…whew, what a great ride it’s been! I’m so grateful to my amazing editors who have helped me edit and shape my words; I’ve learned so much from their guidance, and I look forward to even more op-eds in 2019.
You can read the full piece here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! And here’s to us going home for the holidays, wherever that may be! Love you all… xoxo
[Photos via Unsplash]