Saturday, October 25, 2008

the holidays are a comin'

The other day at work my principal asked us what we looked forward to in the second quarter. Many of the staff said that they were looking forward to Christmas vacation, and I can relate to that. But holidays are strange around here.

Family can be hard, especially with two sets of parents in the same town. My mom is now living here and the husband's family has always lived here. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the traditional big holidays that mean family gatherings, big meals, and full bellies. But recently there have been changes in our family dynamics that are going to make this holiday season really interesting.

My side of the family isn't very big. It's just me, two brothers and my mom. On Charlie's side, there are more siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and now GRANDCHILDREN. This year we added three babies to that side, and so Christmas will mean presents for kids, not just adults.

And some of those people don't get along with some of the other people. One year at Thanksgiving there was a huge fight complete with slamming doors and squealing tires. There were about 25 people at Thanksgiving dinner and I maybe knew 10 of them, and then there was the fight and all I could do was sit there and think that my past Thanksgivings had consisted of about 8 people that I knew well.

My husband and I decided that we would do things a little differently this year and host Thanksgiving with some friends. This may make waves with the family, but it's what we have chosen to do for this holiday. I don't know what our Christmas plans will be, but I'm sure it will bring changes as well.

How do you handle the holidays? Marital bliss does not always equal holiday happiness, so I would be interested in knowing how other people do it. Let me in on those secrets for making the best of the holiday craziness.


Meridith @ The Road Less Traveled said...

yikes.... I'm not looking forward to the holiday's either.... praying we both get through them w/out any major family issues.... ug..... (((hugs)))

Bird, Frizzy and Our Little Yaya said...

While my hubby was in the Air Force we never lived by family. Some of our best holidays were spent with the new friends we made. No added pressures, new traditions, fun games. We'll be with family again this year but I miss having holidays in my home with friends and no family baggage. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and family is able to understand your reasons.

Alison said...

I guess it's important to let others know, even if it creates some waves and hurt feelings, that you and Charlie are your own little family now. You two need to do what will make the holidays happy, relaxing and enjoyable for the both of you. Family can be easily incorporated if you choose, but your little family's needs are most important. I hope they'll understand that.
Thanks to the Army, we haven't had many holidays with our families and sometimes I wish that weren't the case, but mostly I'm thankful that we can do as we please. If anyone wants to visit, that's great, but we don't often make the trip back home for such occasions.

As long as you eat lots of tasty food and get tons of presents, who cares who you celebrate with.
Oh how I kid!

Alyce Barry said...

I used to go back and forth between staying away from the family holiday gathering and participating even though I knew I'd see all kinds of baggage on display. I've come to the conclusion, and I'd be interested to know what you and others think, that there's no escaping the family baggage, and that if I avoid it at holiday time, it will simply surface at other times of year or on other occasions (weddings, funerals, 4th of July, etc.). In fact I've even come to think of the winter holidays as the time when we're meant to explore what we're still holding onto from our childhood experiences of the holidays so we can work through them, give up what we no longer want to hold on to, and take the best to maintain as traditions.

Nichole said...

I kind of have the same situation - without the quarrels. My family is small - just my younger brother and I. My husband's side of the family is quite a bit bigger, and noiser - but in a good way :o)

Esther said...

My hubby doesn't particularly like my family and we've sort of agreed to disagree. I put no pressure on him to come to family things, sometimes he comes, other times he doesn't. Maybe my family thinks it's weird but they've sort of accepted it by now. It leaves me to feel free to enjoy myself with my family without worrying if he's alright.
He usually comes to Christmas because he knows it's important to the kids.

The last few years I've told my family (because we live 2 1/2 hours away) that I'm spending Christmas day at my house with no travelling. I like to wake up in my own house on Christmas morning and have the presents under OUR tree. I told them to arrange what's convenient for them and if they choose Christmas Day then we'll come and visit on Boxing Day. It's worked out fine because with everyone's schedules clashing (there are 9 kids in my family, most of them married with kids) we ended up celebrating two weeks early.

For the last few years our best friends have been saying that they don't want to spend Christmas with their family but rather with us, but haven't because it is hard to say "no" to their parents. Maybe this year we'll do it. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down, make your decisions for what's best for YOU, and let them deal with it. It gets easier every year.

Kat said...

The holidays are tricky especially when families are involved. I don't get along with my inlaws...and Michael supports me. We just try to keep our distance...without actually letting the kids in on what is going on.

Michael and the girls go for Thanksgiving without me. And we go for Christmas...but not on Christmas...