Ahhhh, the holidays. A time for family, right?
For the last 7 years, since our oldest was born, we have traveled for at least one of the two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have one set of grandparents that live around the corner, but none of our children’s cousins are in town and we always felt it was very important to see them during the holidays.
So, we drove either 6 hours south or 7 hours north to spend the holidays with family and I always loved it. I loved packing the car and smooshing into our family’s home. I loved that our kids got to see extended family, including: great-grandmas, great aunt, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, second-counsins… The holidays are about family aren’t they?
This year my husband asked if we could stay home for the holidays. He really wants us to set up family roots here. Which meant that if someone wants to see us for the holidays they would have to travel. Whoa. Obviously our extended family is not going to all trek 6 hours. That means no cousins, aunts, uncles, great-grandmas, etc.
Were we ready for this change? There comes a time when you have your own family that you want to create your own traditions. But when you travel to see family you have to meld into their traditions, which makes it hard to hold on to your own.
For example, when my husband and I started dating we were lucky enough that my family tradition was to celebrate Christmas Eve (with the turkey, party, etc.). Which made it quite easy for us to spend Christmas Day with his family. We were able to meld both family traditions so that as a couple we made both families happy.
But now we have our own family and we have only been home for Christmas one year. One year. And those Christmas traditions are different depending on which side of the family we visit that year! Are we having Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Do we open family gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
This year our children are 7 and 4. It is becoming critical Santa time for our 7-year old son. Each year explaining that Santa comes down the chimney at this house but comes through the front door at this house is getting to be a bit much. We can’t fall on any one tradition because we are at the mercy of the traditions of others.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love seeing our family for the holidays, but my husband is right (shhhh, can’t believe I put that in writing 😉 We need to set up roots for our family and make sure that we can create, and hold true traditions we’d like for our own family now.
Do you have to make the hard decision of staying home vs. traveling to see family? How do you make it work so you don’t upset family?