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How has it become three days before Christmas so quickly? I’m still trying to wrap my head around how time seems to speed up around this time of the year as everyone busily runs around looking for deals, doing secret Santa gift exchanges and Christmas parties at work, cooking a ridiculous amount of food, and getting together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday.

In recent years, I’ve had some bad experiences with family gatherings on the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. There was the whole white dress thing, then the whole you need to move on thing. Needless to say I’m not chomping at the bit to go back for more this year.

Mr. Perfect and I are inundated with “when are you getting married” even when it’s not a holiday, and there’s nothing festive about having your life decisions critiqued over turkey and dressing. Family usually means well, but sometimes they can be harsh and pushy. If the family in question is mine, they can have all forms of verbal weaponry locked and loaded for just such an occasion. Being that I’m not a confrontational person, I usually just sit there like a deer in headlights and hope they get it over quickly. I usually vow never to return, only to find myself back in the same seat the next year.

I took a miss on family gatherings for Thanksgiving, but I’m heading down for Christmas. I only have Christmas day off (not Christmas Eve or Boxing Day), so it won’t be a protracted trip. After being berated about not visiting (you act as if you don’t have any family) and having a chance to reflect on holidays past, I wasn’t exactly excited at the prospect of spending my one day off next week fielding questions like a pro sports player after being trounced in a resounding upset.

But after praying on this and thinking about something my mother said, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to let people have their feelings and still find a way to engage with them. They’re still my family, after all. Who am I to force them to keep silent about their feelings or do things a certain way or risk me not being a part of their lives anymore? How arrogant! In the realm of take it or leave it, I’d definitely leave it; in fact, that’s how I feel like I’ve been treated, as if the choices I’ve made in my life are being put on the block to be judged and must be changed according to the ruling or I’m not acceptable.

I say all of this to say that come Wednesday, I’m prepared for anything. Will things probably be like last year? It’s a possibility. But I can’t blame my family for my lack of voice when they feel free to speak their minds and I’m not that confrontational person. It’s time for me to develop a respectful way of telling my family that while I respect their opinions, this is the life I have to answer for before God, not them. I should therefore live it the way I want if I’m going to be held responsible for the deeds I’ve done in my body. Right? Right.

On to other things. I have multiple writing things out with multiple people. I am exchanging chapters with critique partners. Part of the marriage kit book (which has a title that I need to reveal soon) is with the singles’ minister, who also happens to be an adjunct English professor at the community college. Mr. Perfect has been asking to read my NaNoWriMo novel. I’ve got a lot of writing in a lot of places. It’s been a while since I’ve “workshopped” or had a piece critiqued, so this is all very exciting. I’m moving one step closer to publication. Go me!

I had a great review and bonus this year at work. I used my bonus money to catch up on bills, buy Christmas presents, get a few things to better organize my apartment, and get some fun items–some new songs on the iPod, new books, etc. I used Christmas money from my dad to get a new Blu-ray player (the sound stops playing at the end of every movie on the old one–I’m still going to use it in my bedroom, though.

It’s almost time to reflect on an amazing year, and hopefully I’ll have some exciting news heading into the new year. How have your holidays been? What are you planning to do? Any family drama?