On being a grown up and the holidays.

I don't know about you, but when it comes to the holidays, I really struggle with change.  Most people aren't big fans of change to begin with- I'm no exception- I'm somewhat a creature of habit- but when it comes to messing with the holidays?  That's really rough.

I knew things would change as I got older.  Obviously starting my own family was sort of an inevitable joy of adulthood- however- come Christmas morning there is no place I'd rather wake up than my parents' house, with my sister sleeping in the next room.  She used to be SO grumpy when I'd wake her up like a hyperactive crazy person until it clicked that it was Christmas morning.  In which case I was immediately forgiven and we both became hyperactive crazy people and woke up my parents in the same fashion.  The hubs has similar memories of his family's Christmas mornings- and though we LOVE our little family- we both kind of long for the Christmas mornings of our youth.

Trying to capture and hold onto that same Christmas morning feeling as married adults is tough.  For the past 8 years, we've woken up early Christmas morning, opened presents together, made hot cocoa, then rushed in our pjs (no make up- it's a rule!) to my parents, opened presents there with my parents and sis, then rushed to my Noni's (my mom's mom) house next door, opened presents there in pjs with my mom's parents and siblings, then rushed to Brandon's parents' house to do the same.  The past three years have also involved rushing a newborn, than infant and now toddler through the same pattern.  Not to mention our families both like to have their Christmas dinners at 1pm on Christmas day, which means we have 4 morning events prior to evening starting the actual main family gathering.

It's gotten even tougher to celebrate with family in recent years, as both the hubs and I have one sibling each- and within 3 months of eachother, the both married their significant others and now we all have to try to balance not only both sides/schedules of our families but their in-laws celebrations and timing as well.

The honest truth is, we RARELY see our siblings at most holidays.  It is hard.  We want to all be together, but everyone's doing their best to balance.  Sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and say FORGET it. Brandon, Keegan and I are staying home, watching Christmas movies in pjs all day and eating Christmas candies and cookies.  Whoever comes over is welcome.  The end.

But- we DO want to see our families and the thought of not is crushing too.  I can't even imagine how difficult this all must be for families with divorced parents.

We are hosting Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks for the third year in a row.  We started hosting Thanksgiving because we wanted to not have to go from place to place- so we extend the invite to both sides of the family and stay PUT all day.  It's NICE.  Now, as an amateur foodie-wannabe, Thanksgiving is not only my excuse not to shuttle my toddler to multiple locations hurriedly in one day and eating huge meals an hour and a half apart from each other- but it's also my SUPERBOWL.  The thrill of cooking for all of the family and trying subtle twists to improve upon the classic recipes is BIG for me.  I literally can't wait!

This post has drawn on a bit long- so I'll try to wrap it up- but I'm hoping that maybe one of you, my lovely readers has a suggestion of what to do during the holidays that allows you to actually enjoy seeing family and doesn't leave you feeling guilty for not spending enough time here or there.  Is there a way to do it and do it well?  What works for you?  Or is this just something we need to accept as grown-up reality?  Last year, to spend a decent amount of time with each of our families on Christmas Brandon and I actually split up for a few hours.  That SUCKED.  I want to be with my husband on Christmas.  Your ideas are appreciated!
I heart Christmas


  1. Your Sister, The Thoughtful BrunetteNovember 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Ian and I were just discussing balancing our holiday schedules between his two sets of parents, his brother and new sister when they arrive in California, and of course, my side of the family - let alone time for just us! The main thing I told him was that I absolutely cannot and refuse to mess with Christmas morning. That is SACRED.

    I understand your frustration and I hope that no matter how everything works out, you are satisfied and joyful throughout your holiday experience.

  2. We have always split the Christmas holiday into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Aniticpation of both as a kid was great and we didn't have to sacrifice time with one family over another.

    Also, has anyone ever thought to ask for a change in Christmas dinner from one of the households. If it's at 1 then maybe the other could be at 5, so you could all make it to both.

  3. I agree Shorty- we've made some adjustments with the Carrera Christmas plan, so we'll get more time at mom and dad's and not be rushed.

    Amy: Yes, we've definitely tried to get times adjusted- the tough thing is typically the older generation will only come at the afternoon time and our siblings usually need it in the afternoon too- so asking for a change puts us in a minority- so it can't really happen.

  4. Ugh. I am struggling this year too. Not just with Christmas but the "Holiday" Season in general. It has been EXACTLY the same for all of my life and now that we are in Peru everything is changing. *sigh*

    Not that I don't love Peru, but sometimes I wish everything could be exactly like it was when I was a kid...

  5. I love what my husband's family does! We chose a day after Christmas to get together. Usually it is a Saturday between Christmas and New Year's but not always. Then we have lunch (bcz we are gathering from different cities) and a gift exchange. It is great because then you only have one side to deal with on Christmas day and your kids.

    Now my hubby is the baby of 7 and everyone is married with kids and some of the grandkids are married with kids. We often have 30+;).

    My FIL always said that we needed to develop our own family traditions with us and our kids!

  6. When we got married, Tim and I decided to start our own Christmas morning traditions. So, we usually have our time together, and then go to his parents house. But, if we're visiting my family (in Canada), we do Christmas morning when we're there (whether it's the actual day or not), and we've done that with his parents too (on the years we've been with my family). It's not quite the same, and I struggle with wanting it to be like when we were kids too, but it's a good alternative. Growing up, we had Christmas together as an immediate family, the whole day, then on the 26th we went to the extended family get together. It made Christmas last extra long, and was a tradition, so it was perfect.

  7. When we get the chance to be near our families for the holidays we usually split up the time between the two. My mom's pretty much a stickler for wanting all 4 grandkids together on Christmas morning, and since I am responsible for 3 of the four, it's pretty imperative that I'm there with them. When we do go to FL for Christmas, we usually go spend a couple of days before Christmas with the hubby's family, including Christmas eve, and then have our Christmas dinner and presents with them that afternoon. Then, we head to my parents house (3 hours from my in-laws) on the evening of Christmas Eve. I've had to sort of put my foot down the last few trips down because, even though I don't really get along with my MIL, it's not fair for her to get shafted every Christmas. So we try to stay at the in-laws later on Christmas Eve.

    BUT..this year is going to be completely different. We won't be spending Christmas with any family at all, thanks to having to move to Oklahoma the week of Christmas. We will spend this Christmas in a hotel...either in some state between SC and OK, or in our billeting room on the base in Oklahoma City. Luckily we have a small tree that the hubby takes along when he's deployed over the holidays, so we'll have that as our tree this year.

    I'm trying to still make the day great for my kids, but it's definetly going to be a Christmas I'd rather forget for myself.

  8. I apprec. your blogging about this from your heart and gut. It was a beautiful sentiment expressed here, and some oh-so-sweet memories! And the sharing of thoughts sparked btwn you sisters, plus Amy's and others' thoughtful input, is really nice. Anybody for a sleepover Christmas Eve, Nat & Shaun & Co.? Seriously, whatever we can do to help facilitate, let us know. Love you much. Tnx.

  9. Just came across your blog :)))

    I don't even have kids and I am struggeling this year. I seriously tried to get my BF to take me to Disneyland and trade one kind of craziness for another. My BF has divorced parents. So all together it's 3 places to try and be, and everyone wants you to be there first. I decided this year to alternate. We will do his family first this year and mine first next year. That's about as far as I have planned. I am avoiding it. So when you figure it all out, can you let me know?


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