Having neither around me for Christmas this year, I realized how central to celebration family and food are to me. I spent this Christmas in lovely Akron, Ohio. (Please read with heavy sarcastic tone here). We arrived near midnight on Christmas Eve and went straight to the crew hotel. We didn't have to meet the van to go back to the airport until 5:45 the next evening, so we had all day to burn. Unfortunately, not a thing was open on Christmas day, including the hotel restaurant.
I talked to my family on the phone, but it wasn't the same as being there for the festivities. After my Christmas feast of beef jerky, satsumas, and three Hershey kisses, I went to the fitness center and ran for a while. The whole time wishing I was running to burn off calories from Dad's famous mashed potatoes and the apple pie I would have had for dessert.
By the time I went down to the lobby to get on the van, I was pretty hungry again, but I had eaten through all of my snacks. Thankfully, the hotel staff was thoughtful enough to put together turkey sandwiches for each of us to take with us. A turkey sandwich has never tasted so good as the one I ate alone on Christmas night, standing in the galley of an airplane. If anything, this experience makes me hope I never take my many blessings for granted, especially during the holidays. Out of the eight flights I worked, only two people thanked me for working on the holiday so they could get to their families to celebrate. Rather than complaining about the delays and seeing my face and attaching blame to it, it would have been nice for people to recognize that I did not climb the stairway to heaven to bring inches of snow down upon holiday travelers. I wanted to be at home with my family just as much as they did, but I didn't get the luxury of reclining my seat and having a cocktail...I was the one slinging those drinks and reminding people to return their seatbacks and tray tables to their upright positions.
Of course, this might have all changed if my Christmas layover had been in Costa Rica.