Boise is place that not everyone dreams of going for the holidays. It is a smaller city mostly thought to be filled with Potato Farmers. That’s just not true anymore. People often give me a puzzled look when I say how excited I am to go to Boise. It is often one that says, “Why in the world would you want to go there?” and “I must have heard her wrong because no one gets that excited for Boise, Idaho.” But I truly do.
Christmas in Boise is something I have experienced many times. Both my mom and dad grew up in Boise, Idaho, so most of our extended family lives here or did at one time. When I was little, Christmas was a holiday that meant two things to me: Family and Presents. It was the one time of the year where I got to see every single person in my extended family. We would all pile into one house and celebrate the holiday together. My many cousins and I would sleep in one room, constantly trying to find our hidden gifts around the house. We would wake everyone up extra early on Christmas morning in anticipation of our newly filled stockings and perfectly wrapped gifts under the tree. Of course, this perfect wrapping was shredded to bits within seconds of us arriving.
Over the years, however, many things changed. Some people moved to new states, others got divorced and had to split the holidays. For several years, Christmas was with less and less people. The holiday was not all about joining the entire family together, but instead doing what was cheapest or easiest at the time. My parents and I suddenly had to rotate, seeing my mom’s side one year, and my dad’s the next. The joy and excitement I once felt when seeing all of my family every holiday seemed to become more of just a memory.
With each year, however, things seemed to get a little better. People in my family began to get married; some moved back to Boise, and even new babies were coming. Our family began to grow. In this last year especially, I have seen a change. Many members of my family spent this last year fighting cancer and the terrible side effects that come with it. Thankfully, not a single member of the family lost that fight. Not only did those people fight and return stronger, but also they inspired a new love within all of us. It’s as though almost losing them reminded us all of how much we need them.
This year for Christmas, I saw more family than I’ve seen for a long time. Many people traveled from all over to be together, and celebrate how lucky we are to still have each other. And you know the best part about family? They will love you no matter what. You can go years without seeing them or talking to them, you can have changed into an entirely new person, but they will love you and embrace you as though they’ve seen you every day. Christmas in Boise means more to me than red and green lights or the idea of Santa bringing us gifts. Christmas in Boise means everyone celebrating each other, and the unconditional love that we all have for one another.
Christmas in Boise means family.