This is the first time I can remember having legitimate travel plans around Christmas time. I’ve always been lucky to have the majority of my family here in Ohio and have celebrated the holidays in and around Cleveland my entire life. Christmas Eve is normally spent at my Nana’s house. Those Christmas Eve’s in her beautiful home, with the perfect tree full of meaningful ornaments and sparkling white lights, lit the living room in a comforting hue and made me feel like I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. Those evenings are some of my most vivid and cherished childhood memories.

As with all things in life, times change and traditions alter – especially when all the kids grow into their own lives and relationships… your singular family becomes a multitude of families. Holidays are not exempt from the rule of change, but that doesn’t mean they become any less meaningful. If anything, that just makes those childhood memories more dear and the happiness of those times reignite something in our hearts at this time of year… and allows us to share that with our new friends, added family members, and create more memories. Good breeds good.

So, in keeping with that ever-changing truth, my Christmas this year will encompass five cities across two states and more people I love than maybe ever before. I love that about life… when you keep your heart open, the right folks find their way in… and they make your heart grow even more, creating more space for more love.

Today I am working until 5:00 p.m. and then I head down to Columbus – I should really just get an apartment for how often I am there, but then I would miss out on staying at my most favorite Starwood hotels! And we can’t have that, because I do love my Platinum status 😉 Late checkouts, free breakfasts and evening snacks, and a million other awesome perks throughout the year… but my loyalty to travel brands is a post for another time so back to the topic at hand…

Possibly stopping by to see a friend while in Columbus tonight, he’s been going through a rough patch, to say the least. And if I can help out when I’m in town, of course I am going to. That’s what friends are for!

On Saturday morning, I’ll be headed east of Columbus to see my family for a nice holiday lunch at my cousin Ryan & his fiance, Jessica’s new house! My cousins Ryan and Kevin feel more like my little brothers than my cousins – we grew up together and we’ve been through a lot. I love them more than words and I love seeing them so successful in life and so happy… they’ve both found incredibly smart and strong women to spend their lives with and who love them for who they are… I couldn’t ask for anything more for them and it warms my heart to welcome such sweet & thoughtful people into our family.

After lunch, I’ll be hitting the road again in a westbound direction towards my home-away-from-home, Indianapolis. For the second year in a row, I’m driving in from Ohio to see the Lights at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway! It was so fun last year when Dusty and I recorded our drive for a bonus holiday episode of Push to Pass, and this year I’m getting to experience the even longer and brighter experience with other members of my race family! We are sure to have an absolute blast, and then cause a whole bunch of ruckus at a local establishment afterwards for a dinner that will inevitably last a minimum of two hours… full of carbs, laughter, and a pint of something in honor of Adrian over in the UK.

Sunday morning will kick off Christmas Eve, that day that triggers such happiness and love in my heart. I can’t predict the weather for all of this driving, but according to forecasts I should just missing most of the angry snowflakes. One thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be singing “I’ll be home for Christmas” as I drive back to Cleveland on Sunday! Once I get there, it’ll be time to cook and enjoy Christmas Eve dinner with my amazing parents, followed by dessert with the family at Nana’s!

I was telling one of my co-workers my plans at our holiday party this week and all she had to say was, “Well Shay, if anyone can do that… and genuinely enjoy all of it… it’s you!” I agree! Life is in a constant state of change and I do my best to embrace that, because think about it… what good is the alternative?

Even though the word ‘blessed’ is grossly overused by the millennial generation, proof being in it’s spoken-hashtag-form in that one Bruno Mars song, but I honestly do feel that way… without the kitschy-ness of course. I have been able to see so much of my friends and family this entire holiday season and I’m so happy that that is continuing right into Christmas. Speaking of, I guess I didn’t mention my plans for the holiday itself, did I?

Oh well, always leave them guessing, right?

Happy Holidays to you and yours!!