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When my brothers and I were children, our grandparents would migrate down to Florida for the winter. They’d spend their days in balmy subtropical temperatures with alligators and manatees while the rest of us shoveled the driveway and bundled up like Randy Parker. It was a pretty sweet deal—except that it meant missing out on the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas always came and went without them.

So the wise and clever adults in the family invented a new holiday—a family tradition, as it were: ThanksChristmas. By combining the spread of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes with the gift exchanging of Christmas (complete with a little tree), the entire family would gather together and celebrate each other before the grandfolks headed south.

As a kid, that was pretty special!

The tradition took an haiatus after they stopped wintering in Florida, allowing us to spend each holiday together as they came in their time, but this year our family is reviving it. Not because my grandparents are going on an extended vacation this time, but because my brother and his family are coming up from Virginia! Traveling during the holidays/in winter/with a toddler/while eight months pregnant isn’t fun for anyone, so we’re celebrating ThanksChristmas in October this weekend!

I’m stoked to have them again and am over the moon to see my wee acorn—she’s grown so much since the last time they were up here! Every time they come I can’t help but think about how valuable and precious it is to spend time with the people you love whenever the opportunity arises, because the fact of the matter is we never know if or when we’ll see them again. Sometimes it might get frustrating or be inconvenient, but our time on Earth is transient and so, so worth sharing with those dear to us. So worth celebrating with joy in those moments when when we ARE together.

With that in mind, friends, I implore you to treasure the people in your lives. Stuff, hobbies, and work can be replaced, but people cannot, and the relationships we invest in will last longer and reach deeper than any material thing. Yes, at times it might be difficult and tiresome and get in the way of [insert here] , but they’re worth it, believe me (that includes you, by the way.) Take some time this weekend to gather with those you love and BE with them. Invest in them. You’ll be amazed at how much it’ll bless you, too.

Published inFarm Stuff


  1. I always enjoyed these ThankChristmas’ so nice to visit the entire family. 2 Grandparents, 3 sets of parents and 7 kids and we always all made it, even if someone was living out of state, we made sure that person was able to come home. Logistics, age and home sizes have put that on the back burner but the memories will live. So endearing that you wrote about our family this way. Love you Ashton

  2. Rachel Rachel

    What a charming story! Thank you for sharing that with us Ashton! Enjoy time with your family and continued treasured traditions.

  3. Sue Dennie Sue Dennie

    LOVE this and never cease to be impressed by your writing style and talent. Have a happy ThanksChristmas with your family this weekend!

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