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We’ll Be Home For Christmas…

Three bedrooms. Two bathrooms. Nine people. This is the living situation Jake and Nichole Roberson have faced for the past three years at Christmas time. During the summer of 2012, the house they tried to buy sold to someone else. Suddenly, they had to move out within 30 days so the new owners could move in. With a limited income and a family their size, they did not have many options. They moved themselves, their three kids, and Jake’s two teenage daughters in with Nichole’s parents. “My parents accommodated us well,” Nichole explained. “We tried to make it as normal for the kids as possible.” Still, it just wasn’t the same without their own space, and Nichole admitted the holidays didn’t mean as much when all their decorations had to stay in a storage box because there simply was not enough room.

For three years, the Robersons made the most of their living arrangement. This past August—with the help of Habitat for Humanity—they finally got a change of scenery…

Five bedrooms. Two bathrooms. Biggest Habitat for Humanity house in Kosciusko County to date. This Christmas, the Roberson family gets to decorate a home of their own, and there is one especially important rule, according to Jake and Nichole: “The Robersons don’t do fake trees.” After stepping into the newly constructed house, the first decoration any guest will see is the traditional live tree sitting in the entryway. Every aspect of celebrating the holidays feels different this year because the house they get to decorate is theirs and no one else’s.

Even something as simple as sending out Christmas cards to friends and family is a novel experience for the Robersons. Nichole admitted she hasn’t sent out Christmas cards for the past three years because she didn’t feel like there was any point. Now, there is a stack in their family room waiting to be mailed.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the upcoming Christmas events will be going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the holiday—not having them in the neighboring bedroom. “Grandma and Grandpa can’t be Grandma and Grandpa when they’re constantly there,” Nichole says. This year, the Roberson children get to visit their grandparents’ home, which will be a treat for them, rather than just the norm.

It was a long three years for Jake and Nichole and their kids, but this year, the outlook has finally improved. This year, there is enough space for the whole family. This year, they can put up their own decorations. This year, they will mail Christmas cards. This year, the Robersons are home for Christmas.