Holiday Complications

Last week, I talked about how it seems so much harder to get into the holiday spirit now that I’m an adult over at Turtleduck Press. But I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’ve figured it out.

Everything’s so complicated now.

When I was a kid, my sister and I had our routine. We’d watch every tapped Christmas special we could find (A Muppet Family Christmas was always my favorite), crawl into bed together, and then get up whenever we woke up, open our stockings, and wait for our parents to get up.

Then we’d do presents, Church, and spend the afternoon and evening at our grandparents, playing with our cousins and eating too much.

It was simple, fun.

I think it started to change when my husband and I got serious and starting bringing each other home for Christmas. Our parents are both divorced, so instead of each of us managing two, we suddenly needed to do four. And, of course, they all overlapped.

And then our siblings got married, which also limited available times, and so on…

So now, I think, instead of being able to enjoy the holidays as a family, we get so stressed about trying to squeeze in all sorts of different family gatherings.

It’s truly ridiculous. Something has got to change. We have a child now, and in a year or so we’re going to need to start putting our family unit first.

Squiders, how have you dealt with managing the holidays when you’ve got both sets of parents (or multiple sets of parents, in the case of divorce) local? Anything tips for lowering the stress or dealing with hosts’ hurt feelings if you can’t make it?

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by dennarahl on 2012/12/21 at 9:04 AM

    We’re 7 years into marriage and this is our fourth set of holidays with kids. It hasn’t gotten much easier, but we’ve started to care less who we upset. After two years of trying to see everyone on the holiday(before kids), we decided we couldn’t do it anymore. So now we see one side of the family on Thanksgiving day and the other family gets Christmas day. This year we saw Tom’s family on Thanksgiving and did Thanksgiving with my family the Sunday after. Then for Christmas we’re seeing Tom’s family this Sunday (they couldn’t do Christmas eve) and my family for Christmas. It works ok because we’ve only got two families…

    A possible solution would be to set a “schedule” where family A gets Thanksgiving, family B gets an off Thanksgiving day, family C gets Christmas eve and family D gets Christmas day. Worry less about your siblings and more about the grandparents. The next year switch it up so b and c get the actual holiday and rotate it so they get even spread around the holidays. It isn’t easy at first, they’ll wonder why you can’t do everything you used to and you just have to stand firm and not cave to pressure. The families will eventually get used to the idea. You’ll still want to figure out how to exchange gifts with the Thanksgiving families, but don’t make it a big to do. You can see them when you see them. Heck, you could celebrate Christmas on Thanksgiving.

    I’m an advocate of relaxing over the holidays, and enjoying them. If you’re stressing out, then its not fun or happy for anyone.

    Reply

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