Finding a Christmas picture took some digging. My family has never done greeting cards or family photos. We don’t have any special holiday traditions, except the standard presents underneath a tree on Christmas morning. However, thinking about it, I can’t actually remember the last time my mom, dad, sister, and I gathered around the boxes of ornaments from the garage and hung them onto a fresh pine. This year’s Christmas season, by myself in an apartment with a small pre-decorated tree behind my back as I intensively write final papers, is not full of much holiday cheer either, though it is admittedly the most peaceful Christmas season I’ve had thus far. Holidays are different for families plagued with alcoholism.
This photo is one of a few that I can still find in my parent’s house that showcases ‘the good old days,’ which only means that my sister and I didn’t yet realize that everything was rotting around us like the tree in January that still needed taken to the curb. However, out of our dysfunction something has been born, I think, more beautiful than ever would have been possible without the chaos: we are family, her and I, all on our own. I am grateful this season for that.
Part of a series of Holiday Storyographies from the Story staff.
Lizz Dawson is an editorial assistant for Story magazine and writer from York, Pennsylvania. She is the co-editor of The York Review.