I knew this holiday was definitely going to be different.

The holidays have always been a family-centered event for me. It seems like it is almost a competition to see how many family members on both sides of the family you can meet in a short period of time. This year was different for me.

Instead of hopping in a car with my parents to go see my aunts, uncles, and cousins, It was me, waking up in Whitewater by myself to go to a “Krause Christmas” and hoping that it was still the same without my parents there with me. It really wasn’t. It was surprisingly harder than I thought

Instead of waking up at my parents house Christmas morning and waiting for my nieces and nephews to arrive to start tearing open presents under the tree, it was waking up at my cousin’s house from the party the night before, stopping by my uncle’s house and heading back to the “Dub” to open some presents I got in the mail from my mom in my empty apartment.

You see, my parents moved to Arizona earlier this year and I made my new home here in Whitewater. A little bit of an adjustment having my parents 1,790.4 miles away.

No family christmas card.

No motherly advice about finally finding the perfect soul mate for me.

No clacking of my nieces and nephews feet as they run around the house with their new presents delivered by Kris Kringle himself.

Just me.

It’s a good thing that my family is somewhat technologically savvy and we can utilize Facetime and such to keep in contact. It was very helpful to see some family members, even if it was through my iPhone screen.

I am also so very lucky to have so many of my friends open their homes to me this Christmas and offer to take me in, but I didn’t think I was quite ready to be around another family, so content in their home with each other. I’d stick out like a sore thumb in no time.

This Christmas I was content with myself. Yes, I was still be near some family and still enjoyed having a home cooked meal with my awesome boss, but overall by myself for the duration.

This New Year’s eve, I look forward to indulging in a new kind of “family” party. Filled with some of the best people I have ever met. From artists to activists and loving people all around, I will be surrounded by family nonetheless.

Family has become a very “fluid” type of word for me lately, and that has made all the difference in the world.

Family is my best friend Avery who is by my side no matter what and always there to defend me.

Family is going over to my boss’ house for dinner once a week  to keep updated on everyone’s life.

Family is weekly “Wine-Wednesdays” with my best friends who truly care how I’m holding up.

Family is sipping tea with my lovely friend Angie and unwinding the craziness that is my life.

Family is always around you.

Family is support.

Family is love.

Once you get past the need for a small and generational family, there is no stopping who you can let in.

As this next year is getting started, I will continue to surround myself with the family that I need.

Near or far, they are here for me.