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Home for the Holidays

“Home for the Holidays”


Guilty pleasure-  Jan and I admit to watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  Most evenings you can find us enjoying a glass of wine and enjoying the prior nights movie.  (Pro tip-  DVR the movies.  You can watch a 2-hour movie in about 80 minutes when you skip the commercials!).  Yes, they are predictable, sappy, corny, and follow the same formula, but they usually leave us feeling good and with a smile on our faces.

A recurring them in most Hallmark movies involves at least one of the characters going “Home for Christmas”, and it got me to thinking- Where is “Home”?  And, where do you celebrate Christmas and the Holiday Season?

I’ve lived in a lot of cities and in a lot of houses.  My dad was transferred every couple of years while I was growing up, and Jan and I have moved many times as our corporate careers took us around Oklahoma and Texas.  I’ve lived in 15 towns and I’ve lost track of how many houses/apartments we’ve had out mail delivered to.

Thing is- most of those places were just that- places, not homes.   I spent my most formative years in Oklahoma.  I graduated high school and went to college in Norman, and most importantly met Jan in Oklahoma.  Oklahoma just seems like “home” to me.

I started asking people the question “What defines home for you?”

The most common criteria were (in order) as follows:

  1. It’s where my heart is.
  2. It’s where I feel safe..
  3. It’s where my family is.
  4. It’s where you “make it”.
  5. It’s where my parents are.
  6. It’s where I grew up.

Interestingly most people answered with a response that wasn’t about a place, but rather with a response that provoked an emotion.  Also, it was clear that people make a home more than a location.

In the Hallmark movies, the main character usually goes “home” to the town they grew up in, and stays with his or her parents in the home he or she was raised in.  In the real world, that typically isn’t the case.  Statistics show that the average American family moves about every 7 year.  Twenty five percent of Americans will move in the next year, with the average person hanging their hat in 11 residences in their lifetime.

As I reflected on the answers that people gave me, I reflected on my own situation.  Is where I call home where I grew up in?  Not specifically, but in general I did “grow-up” in Oklahoma.  Is home where my parents are?  Nope- they have a beautiful house in Houston, and I love to visit them, but its not home.  Is home where my family is?  Kind of- Jan has a lot of family in the area, but our grandkids and most of my family are in Texas and my brother is in California.

For me (and most of you!) “home” comes down to two things- it’s where you make it, and where your heart is.  When we lived out of state, I noticed that every time we came back to central Oklahoma, that we would look at each other as say, “Feels like Home!”.  And, the houses we have lived in since we moved back in 2004 aren’t home for any other reason than we made them “home”.

So trust your heart and make it your own.   Open your front door, kick of your shoes, feel safe, and “WELCOME HOME!”

By Terry Erhardt

Dec. 2018

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