I'm not going home for Christmas this year. My husband and I and our 16-month-old daughter are staying in Boston and not taking the two-stop flight on Christmas Eve to our parents' homes in the Midwest. We're doing this for a few reasons: money, my husband's work schedule, the lack of quality grandparent-to-grandchild time when we're rushing between homes and relatives trying to see everyone (briefly) and juggle expectations (always). If we can only make the trip once, we said, it'd be better if we visited in February, when there's more time.
Given that, I now find myself one week away from my first Christmas with a family of my own, but away from the family I grew up with. If there was ever an emotional crossroad into full-on adulthood, this is it.