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Holly McCamant: Traditions, big or small, make the holidays unforgettable, regardless of family size

This time of year, families are all gathered together, watching television shows and checking up on every single person’s relationship status.

I find it amazing how people from all over the country gather just for one holiday.

However, with our family, the traditions are a little different. Right now, our family consists of my parents, three dogs, one cat and me. You would think that we would join up with some nearby family, like just about everyone else in this part of Minnesota. The reason why we typically don’t is because we don’t have any.

My dad’s family lives out west, but traveling 14 hours out to Montana in bad conditions is rough. So most of the time, we chose not to brave the conditions for a less stressful Christmas back at home.

Since my dad’s family lives out in the west, it only makes sense that my mom’s family lives in the exact opposite direction. I only remember one time when I was little that I was over there for Christmas. This is because plane tickets over there aren’t that easy to get, and because my parents aren’t up for driving a straight day and night.

Even if my family was willing to get plane tickets or spend a long 24 hours in the car, it probably wouldn’t work out, since as a RN, my mom’s work schedule is uncertain and planning with that contingency can be kind of difficult.

So, just about every year, our family ends up staying right here. However, it’s a little different for us. Most families get together to sit around and eat. In our family, everyone has to get exercise.

My dad and I spent Christmas Eve cross country skiing. My parents spent Christmas day skiing, again. The day after Christmas, my dad and I headed out on a run. The dogs insist that they be exercised too, so we do a fair amount of skijoring (cross country skiing with dogs) too.

Even Curry, our cat, gets impatient and starts climbing on the table when it’s too cold to go outside.

On Christmas Day, we get out and go to Christmas at Our House at our church to help deliver meals. At First Lutheran, every year we hold this big meal so that no one should have to eat Christmas dinner alone.

Even if someone can’t come to the church, we deliver meals, so that the people can still have a dinner. This is what my dad and I and many other volunteers from our church choose to do. We may be away from our biological family, but we have one right here in Detroit Lakes.

The rest of our holiday we’ll ski and run some more, maybe watch a few Christmas movies. I am happy to say that my dad’s birthday is the Monday a few days before this will be read. I don’t know what we will do for New Year’s, as we don’t exactly have a family tradition besides my mom telling my dad and I that it’s not necessary to stay up until midnight.

Sometimes I wish I had a big family, but it wouldn’t be the same. Having a small family is part of who I am. I just know that I won’t be spending this Christmas vacation alone.