I wave excitedly as you walk in the door and jump up to give you a warm hug. I've already grabbed the perfect table by the window so we can watch the snow fall while we talk and sip on our favorite drinks. It feels like forever since we sat down like this. Just us.

The holidays are literally around the corner. Seriously, Thanksgiving is next week! How did this happen? I'll talk about how this is my first time living away from home during the holidays, and I'm not sure yet how it will hit me. I've spent many Thanksgivings away from my family, so that doesn't bother me quite as much. It's Christmas I'm worried about. Not the day itself. I'll be going home for that. It's the weeks leading up to Christmas and all of the traditions I will be missing out on during those magical days.

I might get a little teary eyed when I start talking about all of the things I am going to miss during this season. My dad and I go pick out our tree every year together after Thanksgiving. It's something special just the two of us do together. He plans to Facetime me in while he and my mom are picking out the tree this year, which will be great, but not the same. I'll miss decorating the tree with the family, and I'll miss making the front porch beautiful with garland and strings of twinkly lights. White lights, of course, because we are a classy family. ;) I love that house at Christmas. It is so warm and inviting. If I were a stranger passing by, I would want to stop and stare and maybe ask if I could come in for a cup of hot cocoa...because that wouldn't be creepy at all. ;)

I'll tell you that I have been missing my core group like crazy, and I'm sad to miss our annual Christmas party this year. For the past few years, we gather at one of our homes, wear ugly Christmas sweaters, take hilarious pictures, watch Christmas movies, swap Secret Santa gifts, and play games (we don't play Pictionary anymore, though, because of that one year we all got upset at each other...haha!) Although this year isn't the same, I am so excited I get to see those girls when I go home. So much has happened with our little group this year. I moved away, one had a baby, one got engaged, and one is preggers with her first little one. And I get to see them all along with their men when I go home! I'll tell you I love how that group of college girls and their boyfriends/fiances/husbands turned into a little family for me over the past five years. We love each other well, and I don't think I've ever cried laughing as many times as I have with them.

And then there are the Christmas concerts. You know my family and I go to Nashville each year for Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb concert at the Ryman. It is one of my most favorite parts of the entire year. The evening is always so magical and full of friends and wonderful memories. My church back home does one of the best Christmas concerts east of the Mississippi. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it makes my heart burst with joy. My favorite part is the end with all the lights turned off and glowing candles held in the hands of my family and friends as we sing Silent Night together. I'll get teary eyed just talking about it and remembering how beautiful that moment is.

I'll sigh and realize that I've terrified you into thinking I will go home at Christmas and not come back. We both know that's an underlying fear of yours, so I'll laugh and reassure you that is not the case. As sad as it is to have life move on back home without you, I'm learning it is okay. It's okay to cherish those traditions and to miss them, but it's also okay to start new ones and to love them just as much. You'll tell me I can come pick out a tree with you and decorate it after Thanksgiving. Remember when we did that two years ago and listened to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat all night? We'll go see the Broadmoor decked out in twinkly lights. It is truly a sight to see. We'll watch Christmas movies and listen to our favorite Christmas songs on repeat. We'll go to Christmas concerts and drive around to find the houses with the most impressive lights. You assure me it will be okay, and I'll believe you. I'm excited for this next season in my new home, and I'm glad you're here to walk through it with me.

The snow is still falling gently, covering the world in a blanket of white. How long have we been sitting here, and why does the sun have to set so early these days? We keep talking as we reluctantly get to our feet and head towards the door. Thank you so much for spending quality time with me. I've desperately needed it. We'll head our separate ways, and as I'm about to hop in the car, the faint sound of Silver Bells playing down the street stops me in my tracks, reminds me of years gone by and a friend I miss so much, and has me dreaming of a tender Tennessee Christmas.

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Today you have the chance to win this adorable mug from Lindsay Letters! Then grab a cup of your favorite warm drink and join SamanthaBeth, and me (the three besties who make up TriStyle & Co.) and share your own holiday thoughts with us! Where is home for you? Will you be with your family for the holidays? What are some of your favorite traditions during this season? Oh, and what is your very favorite mug that you always use? Tell me all the things!