Home for the Holidays
Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine|December 2020
When I was a child, we spent every other Christmas at home.
DEBORAH WYATT FELLOWS

In the off years, Santa came to our house early, which never, ever felt right. Then my parents would load us at 4 a.m., sleepy and rumpled, into the station wagon where we’d snuggle like kittens on the foam pad in the back, and my dad would drive the 14 hours to his hometown in southern Illinois. I tried not to be too jealous when Santa actually came to my cousin’s homes on a real day.

My favorite Christmases were the occasional years my grandma, aunts and uncles would come and spend the night at our house. One year, the adults had a bit too much of my dad’s “Moose Milk,” and when I saw the photos later, my grandma was playing the piano and the rest of them were dancing in a conga line around the living room dining room-kitchen circuit we loved to run as kids. It was a gift to see them all so happy and care free, and a revelation that they were creating their own holiday memories as adults.

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