There is something about this time of year that makes people turn their thoughts to family.
The thoughts begin to incubate in mid-November and become fully formed by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Throughout December they continue to grow until the new year arrives and all you want to do is find a nice quiet spot to be alone, relax and catch your breath after weeks of whirlwind activities.
These thoughts are generally accompanied by gatherings large and small where family comes together to celebrate the season’s special holidays.
Much of the time our thoughts about family are happy. We treasure the ability to get together and enjoy one another’s company. We enjoy creating new memories that will sustain us until the next time we can gather.
But our thoughts are also tinged with sadness as we remember those who cannot be there, whether through other obligations, distance or death.
Family doesn’t have to be related by blood. In fact, some of the family members I treasure most are family by choice, not birth.
Think about recent trends such as Friendsgiving or how many holiday celebrations there are with family-friends in the month of December.
In Boulder City, there is such a tight-knit bond among residents that it is almost like living in a town of just family members.
Starting Thursday, residents began attending a flurry of celebrations much like a weeklong family reunion. Traditions were upheld as hundreds gathered for the 30th annual Luminaria and Las Posadas, and then the following night for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.
Adding to the family feel of the season was Friday night’s celebration on Fifth Street. Just like relatives who arrive at your doorstep for the holiday, residents flocked to the home of Dale Ryan and Dyanah Musgrave, who welcomed them all with open arms. They truly make you feel like part of the family when they turn on the lights and invite you into their yards to see their colorful decorations.
On Saturday, as holiday festivities began at sunrise and continued until well after sunset, you could feel the love and affection from everyone as they ate pancakes, shopped at the Doodlebug, took pictures with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Jingle Cat, or watched the parade travel through downtown.
Even visitors from outside Boulder City were caught up in the spirit of the season. I met a group of people originally from Belgium, Germany and Switzerland who gather to watch the parade on the same corner each year and set up a table that they fill with festive foods and beverages. The invitation to join them was heartfelt.
The joy from attending these events, where smiles were plentiful and people greeted each other as if they were long-lost family members, was evident.
These warm thoughts of family guard us against the cold weather. Being surrounded by those we love is the perfect way to end a year.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.